Camilo Villa spoke on behalf of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Security workers at buildings throughout Cleveland are unionizing through SEIU, Villa said. Some workers at the downtown County Administrative Building – where this meeting happened – wish to unionize. But they are getting resistance, he said. Villa criticized PalAmerican Security, which contracts with those workers. He said the company is intimidating them and refusing to meet. Geis Cos., the building’s landlord, is also at fault, according to Villa. The landlord is allowing PalAmerican to engage in what Villa called illegal union busting.
Culture change needed
Loh, a community activist, also gave a public comment. Loh urged the council to invest in people, saying the county will not resolve issues with its workforce and economy unless it does so.
Council teed up several pieces of legislation for approval at its Aug. 1 meeting. Twelve council-led resolutions dealt with the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money, of which the county received about $240 million. One resolution would give $30,000 to Comics at the Corner Literacy Lounge. Another would put $10,000 toward a new birthing center in Hough.
New-ish sheriff in town
Council also swore in a new county sheriff. Harold Pretel, who worked 30 years for the Cleveland Division of Police, took the oath in this meeting. His goal is for the Sheriff’s Department to be a “premiere law enforcement agency.” He said that he aims to have “professional, respectful policing.”