Butler County Children Services union President Becky Palmer requested supporters to come out and picket with them outside the Government Services Building in Hamilton on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. It was the last strike by Children Services workers in Ohio, but Montgomery County workers have filed a notice to strike later this month. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Children Services strike would be Ohio’s second in 15 years, since one in Butler County

If Montgomery County Children Services employees go on strike July 19, it would be only the second time in the past 14 years that an Ohio children services bargaining unit had gone on strike.

Caseworkers in Butler County’s Children Services Division were on strike for 23 days in 2014. Other than that, strikes in Franklin (2005) and Summit (2003) counties are the only other Children Services work stoppages in the past 25 years, according to the State Employment Relations Board.

DETAILS: County, Children Services workers disagree on pay

The 2014 Butler County strike was over pay raises – the same issue at the core of the ongoing Montgomery County dispute.

The union representing about 270 Montgomery County’s Children Services employees has filed a 10-day notice of those workers’ intent to strike beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 19. About 70 percent of those employees represented by the Professionals Guild of Ohio are child welfare caseworkers, while others are clerical, benefits, program specialists and other staff.

Children Services handles cases involving foster care and adoption, child abuse and neglect, crisis intervention and court proceedings. Both union and county leaders have expressed willingness to continue negotiating as the strike deadline looms.

2014 STORY: Butler County strike leads to tension in families

In Butler County five years ago, some but not all union members picketed for three weeks, while non-strikers, administrators and contractors handled the Children Services workload. Union leaders said that foster parents’ and families’ calls were not returned and court hearings were mismanaged during that span – a claim that county leaders disputed.

The striking employees actually went back to work without a contract, saying it was for the good of the children. Seven months later, a new deal was sealed, and the agency was reorganized with new management.

LAST STRIKE: A review of Butler County dispute in retrospect

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