Union members fight for their jobs

TOLEDO (13abc Action News) - A corrections officers graduation was canceled on Thursday night. Cadets were ready to march out of Toledo's city council chambers with a new title, instead local UAW 3056 members greeted them at the door.

UAW 3056 represents about 420 non-command officers at the Lucas County Sheriff's Office.

This protest stunned family members of soon-to-be graduates. Graduates were heart broken as they had to leave One Government Center with flowers in hand. Sheriff John Tharp found himself on Thursday night in the middle of it all.

"We had an agreement to prevent layoffs and outsource our jobs to other counties and we thought we had an agreement and at the last minute they decided they weren't going to sign the agreement," said Patrick Mangold, the President of UAW 3056.

This is all in anticipation of a new jail being built. The union said the county will cut 229 jobs.

"Commissioner Gerken and the sheriff outsourcing our jobs to other counties and then they want to subsidize other counties by sending our inmates to other counties," added Mangold.

County Commissioner Pete Gerken this week said at a press conference that was not true.

"Let me be clear from the top, we are not terminating 229 employees," said Commissioner Gerken.

"That was a lie and they openly denied that to the public and they should answer to not only us but the public for being deceptive," added Mangold. "We have documentation and they showed it to us in meetings that they were going to layoff 229 people."

These back and forth conversations have correctional officers, deputies and their families wondering what's next.

Stephanie Ryan said, "it's not only 229 jobs, it's 229 families and children and wives and spouses and it scares me."

Steven Ryan said, "I love my job. I treat everybody equally. I love interacting with different people, but that's all going to be taken away. I have no idea where I'm going now."

"We just bought a house. We just brought a new girl to the world. I got a little boy at home. We lose that, we lose everything," said Jamie Smith.

While this was not the night the graduates had hoped for, it's the outcome the union wanted.

"Wherever the sheriff goes, wherever commissioner Gerken goes, we'll be there," said Mangold.

Sheriff Tharp told 13abc he will do everything in his ability not to terminate 229 jobs. He says he's been laid off in the past so he knows what that feels like.