Willoughby Eastlake Workers Win Injunction; Will be Paid with Benefits

OAPSE Director of Legal Services Tom Drabick, center, discusses OAPSE’s court action with Local 163 President Anthony Cappadonna and OAPSE Field Representative Trina Molnar.

Happy New Year! 2021 will be especially happy for the 209 custodians, maintenance employees and food service workers who were laid off and had their insurance threatened by Willoughby Eastlake City Schools Superintendent Steve Thompson and the board of education. OAPSE took the case of these members of locals 159 and 163 to Lake County Court of Common Pleas, and the judge today issued a preliminary injunction requiring employees be paid wages and benefits while laid off by the board of education on account of COVID-19.

“This a good first step, a very courageous and precedent setting ruling from the Court. It allows 209 classified school employees and their families some hope and assurance going into the New Year. We hope the Board of Education will heed the Court’s ruling and find a path to ending the Reduction in Force knowing that employees will in any event need to be paid wages and benefits,”  said OAPSE Director of Legal Services Tom Drabick.

Drabick said the preliminary injunction is in effect until the case is concluded.

“This is a big win for the members of locals 159 and 163 and for all OAPSE members because it affirms our position that state law mandates that our school employees must be paid when schools are closed because of an epidemic,” said OAPSE Executive Director Joe Rugola.

“This case shows why unions matter. The members of locals 159 and 163 counted on us to fight for them, and that’s what we did. Now, they head into the new year knowing they will have their full wages and won’t lose their health insurance,” Rugola said.