Teamsters Local 700 Conducts Unprecedented Vote at the JTDC

JTDC Chief Steward George Sanchez with Diahann Goode, Rosalind Tennent and JTDC Steward Tristan Villalobos

The vote is in and the numbers do not favor Superintendent Leonard Dixon of the Circuit Court of Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC). The symbolic measure took place on Tuesday, Oct. 29 in a clandestine manner to shield members who expressed concern for potential retaliation in attending a largely advertised “Vote of No Confidence” within the court complex.

Teamsters Local 700 Business Agent and Executive Board Trustee Rosalind Tennent worked with Vice President Mark Robinson in devising a manner in which taking such a vote would substantially look like business as usual.

The vote occurred on a Tuesday, a day in which all members serving at the JTDC are on-duty on all three shifts to conduct in-house training. The same operational policy which is part of an Unfair Labor Practice currently in litigation, was used to ensure maximum member turnout.

For well over a year, members have expressed their discontent with their working conditions, operational mandates and violations of their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Most notably, the Chief Judge’s office retained a private law firm in February 2019 to investigate the JTDC “in response to a series of complaints and allegations concerning activities and events at the JTDC.” Prior to that, members have taken issue with an alleged firearm entering the JTDC secured facility by way of a high ranking official and one member being harshly disciplined following that event.

Despite being victorious in every arbitration to date, several of the same problems and practices continue. Violations of the FMLA, Dignity and Respect, Overtime, Discipline and Fitness for Duty provisions in the CBA coupled with poor staff morale, an increase in staff injury and excessive mandated overtime have contributed to members seeking relief.

“We were left with little choice but to finally engage in this vote,” said Rosalind.

Since ratification of this current CBA, which surmounted to unprecedented benefits being provided to members, the JTDC has failed to enact basic provisions of the CBA. These issues have gone through the grievance process and most are awaiting arbitration hearings.

The numbers don’t lie. An overwhelming majority of members have solidified it; there is no confidence in Leonard Dixon or his administration.

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