WARREN Tsagaris sides with strikers

WARREN -- Trumbull County Commissioner James G. Tsagaris broke ranks with his colleagues, publicly declaring that he supports the position of 55 union employees on strike against the county.
"I have come to the position that I would like the strike to end," Tsagaris said at the start of the commissioners' regular meeting Wednesday.
"It is my fault, no fault of them [the strikers]," he said.
Workers at the Trumbull County Child Support Enforcement Agency have been on strike since Monday. Their union, Local 3808 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, gave notice to strike Oct. 10 after the county commissioners unanimously rejected the report of an independent fact finder.
Motion: Tsagaris made a motion to accept the fact finder's report Wednesday, but that motion died for lack of a second.
"We need to negotiate at the table," said Commissioner Michael J. O'Brien after the meeting. "We can't negotiate in a public forum."
No negotiations between the county and the striking workers are scheduled.
"Our position is to accept the fact finder's report, as written," said Mark Carlson, the union's staff representative.
The fact finder sided with the union on one of the outstanding issues in the strike, recommending that the employees keep an hourlong paid lunch break. The county wants to eliminate paid lunch.
The other major hang-up in negotiations, health care, was raised by the county after the fact finder's report was rejected.
James Keating, the county's director of human resources, said the county learned that it was facing a dramatic increase in insurance costs only after health care was taken off the table in July.