To: Butler County Commissioners
Stand with the children and Social Workers of Butler County
Pay Butler County Social Workers a competitive wage.
Why is this important?
The Butler County Children Services Independent Union (BCCSIU), which represents a majority of the employees in the Butler County Children Services Agency, formally filed a notice with Ohio’s State Employment Relations Board that the employees intend to strike. The notice was filed on 8/6/14 and the strike will begin on 8/18/14 unless the BCCSIU and the Butler County Commissioners reach an agreement before the strike is scheduled to begin.
The BCCSIU and the County Commissioners have been negotiating for 14 months without reaching an agreement for a new labor contract. The workers represented by the BCCSIU have not received any wage increase since 2010. In June 2014, the BCCSIU and the County Commissioners submitted their unresolved negotiation issues to a neutral arbitrator, or “Fact Finder”, who was mutually selected by the two parties.
After conducting a hearing and receiving evidence on the unresolved negotiation issues, the Fact Finder determined that the worker ins in the Children’s Services Agency are underpaid relative to other similar employees in the market. The Fact Finder then found that continuing the current pay step structure over a period of three years with “modest across the board cost of living increases” of 1.5% in the first year, 1.75% in the second year, and a possible 2% increase in the third year would be the appropriate resolution to the unresolved issues.
The BCCSIU voted to accept the Fact Finder’s decision. However, the Butler County Commissioners rejected the recommendation of the Fact Finder, even though they previously granted wage increases to most of the management employees in the Children Services Agency that range between 2.5% and 16.7% in 2014.
Concessions have been made, wages frozen and Butler County no longer provides a competitive wage to retain employees. Caseload sizes are higher than what is recommended by the Child Welfare League of America. The CWLA recommends a caseload size of 12 families. Butler County Social Workers have anywhere from 6 to 20 cases, most workers carrying between 15 to 20 high-risk cases where abuse or neglect allegations have been substantiated. Subsequently, since 2011, BCCS has lost 50% of its social work staff.
Every time a social worker leaves the agency the families that were working with that social worker have to start over with a new contact at BCCS. Most importantly, the loss of a social worker is another loss to the child. That child has been separated from their parents already and now has to start re-building trust with someone else.
Currently there are 455 children in Butler County's foster care, group homes and residential centers. There are 352 children placed with relatives, family friends and neighbors. There are 40 children in the agency's legal custody. These are our children and will not be reunited with their families.
There are 145 children in the agency's permanent custody waiting for a forever home. These children cannot lose one more person in their lives. The change for them is devastating. These are also OUR children.
Every time a social worker leaves the agency they take with them the skills to do the job effectively, the connection with the community and all it offers, the experience of the fight for the children, the strength of watching a parent succeed, the hope that CHANGE can happen, and the witness of despair that is replaced by a child's smile.
It is not okay to continue to allow our children and families of this community to be neglected by those in charge of its investment.
Please Stand with the children and Social Workers of Butler County!
How it will be delivered
The signatures will be hand delivered to the Butler County commissioners on day one of the strike.