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Union grievance hearing set for today

President wants workers to have no contact with commissioner

WARREN — A union grievance hearing is expected to be held today to consider a complaint filed by the union representing two of the employees in the Trumbull County commissioners office.

AFSCME Local 2493 filed the grievance. Although the form it was filed on does not name Commissioner Niki Frenchko, union President Tom Elder said the grievance is focused on her behavior in the office with union employees.

The form states violations include a nondiscrimination section and lists a social media policy issue. It states: “Unjust treatment of employees in the bargaining unit. Harassment, slander, threats and hostile work environment.”

The hearing comes on the heels of a staff meeting last week when five office employees said Frenchko’s actions have made the office a difficult place to work, and after all six office employees filed a complaint with the county human resources department against the newest commissioner.

Frenchko said there is a political effort to line up people to attack her, to prevent her from implementing changes and to make her look bad.

The office employees all said their concerns and complaints about Frenchko are organic and come from experiences with the commissioner over the last six months since she took office.

“Our employees are being bullied,” Elder said.

Elder said he doesn’t usually have to file grievances in his union because, in the past, resolutions have always been reached before that step.

“The union always worked closely with HR and commissioners to resolve issues,” Elder said. “We’ve had a great working relationship.”

The union is asking for a resolution — that Frenchko have no contact with the union members.

“They want to come in and do their jobs without being photographed and recorded and posted online, without being bullied all the time,” Elder said. “They can still do their jobs without talking to her.”

Frenchko has video recorded interactions with the staff and shared them online.

Elder said it is hypocritical that Frenchko attacks staff members online, but then got angry that someone posted a picture of her vehicle online.

“It is a double standard,” he said.

Frenchko said she is working to navigate a path forward with the staff.

“The political games of the establishment have to stop,” she said.

Elder said neither the staff nor he are playing political games.

“I have no political connection to anybody. That is ludicrous; it is her way of spinning this and other complaints. That is all conspiracy theories,” Elder said. “These employees are hard workers; she makes them sound like bad employees, but that is not the case.”

rfox@tribtoday.com

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