By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Hourly workers for Hamilton County's largest department are threatening to go on strike.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees gave the county a 10-day strike notice Wednesday. The union represents 915 clerical, public assistance, child support and children's services workers - nearly a third of the 1,500 employees at Hamilton County Job and Family Services.
The main disputes are over wages and whether all eligible employees should be required to pay union dues, according to A.B. James, president of the AFSCME Local 1768 and a public-assistance worker.
Negotiations on the contract, which expired in May, have stalled, said both James and Laurie Petrie, the department's spokeswoman.
"We're willing to stay here and do our jobs, but they're not working with us," James said.
County Administrator David Krings disputed that assessment Friday afternoon.
"I think we're real close to a tentative agreement, which may come any time now," Krings said. "There have been discussions; there have been contacts."
Neither side would say what specifically the union wants or the county has offered.
But this county's Job and Family Services employees make less money than other counties' JFS workers, James said. They also comprise a higher percentage of minorities and single women than any of Hamilton County's other departments, she said.
The union has 362 dues-paying members. About 60 percent of those who voted were in favor of proceeding with a strike, James said, and AFSCME has a final vote scheduled for Oct. 17.
Krings wasn't sure when county workers last staged a strike, but said there hasn't been one in his nearly 12 years as administrator. "And I don't anticipate there'll be one this time," he said.
Even if there is, clients needn't worry, Petrie said.
"We will be open for business if they strike," she said.
We're No. 1 - in airfare costs
How fares compare from CVG, other cities
Kids rewarded for showing up
Cardinal: Change will restore church
Writing on the wall for sculpture
'It's a sad end to a sad story'
IN THE TRISTATE
County workers threaten strike
Some in Norwood fight to sell homes
Spring Grove invites guests
Boy's suicide intensifies father's crusade
Marching band refuses to yield
Bronson: 'Married ... With Children' - not as seen on TV
Faith Matters: Educate yourself in Islam
Howard: Good Things Happening
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Man gets death sentence in murder of wife
Man guilty in kidnap, assault attempt
County signs off on soldiers
Historical society runs contest
Corwin Nixon in poor health
Computer viruses bedevil Miami University systems
John Watson, Clermont judge, county organizer
Geneva L. Frederick, 80, was homemaker, ex-Marine
'Captain' Morton Chapman, 91, owned the Anchor Grill
Publishers dusting off vintage comic characters
Radioactive reactor might be coming through Cincinnati
Soft mattress, dumplings greet soldier on vacation
Pension files get scrutiny
Man gets life term in pizza driver's murder
Safety becoming top priority for car buyers, experts report
Day-care owners quit amid inquiry into death
Lawyer caught in con's web
Gubernatorial hopefuls tangle in Bowling Green
Former Ky. Gov. Breathitt collapses
State Rep. Kerr switches to GOP
Appellate court favors liquor option
Ky. budget outlook brightens
Troopers to man checkpoints
Boone County zoning decision overturned
Kentucky News Briefs