Picketing stops justice center construction

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - Workers stopped construction on the Summit County Juvenile Justice Center because they refused to cross picket lines of the union representing Children Services Board employees.
Board officials challenged the legality of Wednesday's pickets and charged the union with violating the spirit of a court order that limits pickets to certain sites.
Common Pleas Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove scheduled a hearing on the issue for Thursday over whether pickets are permitted near the center. She issued a temporary order on Monday when the walkout by CSB social workers and support staff began.
Twenty members of Communications Workers of America Local 4546, representing about 350 social workers and support staff, showed up at the county Juvenile Court.
One of those picketing, Todd Kutzera, said the target of the pickets was a trailer intended to provide temporary office space for board staff, who routinely appear at Juvenile Court hearings.
When employees of a half-dozen contractors working on the adjacent Juvenile Justice Center saw the pickets, they called their union stewards and refused to cross the line, Kutzera said.
"We bought them doughnuts before they went home," he said.
Union members aren't characterizing the picketing as a strike.
CSB workers' three-year contract expired March 31. They are challenging the number of cases they are required to handle. CSB officials say caseloads are within acceptable standards.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)