Juvenile Court has itself to blame for detention center violence

In a Letter to the Editor, published in The Plain Dealer on Oct. 13, Laborers Local 860 Field Representative Colin Sikon lays blame where it belongs: at the feet of Cuyahoga County Juvenile administrators who abandoned the workers’ Union. 

“Today, recruitment does not keep up with staff attrition in the detention facility,” he wrote. “This results in … horrible conditions….” 

For years, union members successfully negotiated contracts that improved staff-to-resident ratios and provided quality training so kids got the care they needed. 

When management terminated the Union’s contract, they also stopped paying for CPR/first aid training — not a sign of good things to come. 

The lack of Union representation has resulted in a severe staffing crisis, unleashing a wave of violence at the center. 

Low staffing results from management’s abandonment of Union

As Sikon makes clear in his letter, it’s exactly what we warned would happen. 

Sikon wrote:

“We warned the court that pay and working conditions needed improvement. They refused to listen and broke the contract. Now, they’re asking Cuyahoga County Council for the same raises Local 860 sought last year.

“The indifference of elected judges and incompetence of appointed management drove the facility into a Dickensian state. The first step towards improving conditions is to respect the workers doing the job and reinstate the contract.”

Our kids deserve more.

Sign the petition found at the bottom of our homepage. Tell the Court it needs better staffing and employee training to keep our children safe.