A photo of Camilo Villa speaking about challenges facing security workers at a county building. He represented the Service Employees International Union at the July 18, 2023 Cuyahoga County Council meeting.
Camilo Villa speaks about challenges facing security workers at a county building. He represented the Service Employees International Union. Credit: Cuyahoga County Council YouTube

Covered by Documenters Emma Sedlak (live-tweet thread) and Kellie Morris (notes).

Unionizing security

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. 

ARPA spending

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.”

Read the notes from Documenter Kellie Morris:

Check out live-tweet thread from Documenter Emma Sedlak:

Signal background

Assignment Editor (he/him)
Doug, a Cleveland Documenter since 2020, has been a copy editor and reporter. His work includes: The Pace of Passage about how quickly Cleveland City Council passes legislation; a look at the challenges of the city’s Exterior Home Paint program; and University Circle Police Department’s complaint-review process. Doug has also written explainers and guides and launched #CLEDocsAnswers, which answers questions Documenters have about local government.

Cleveland Documenters pays and trains people to cover public meetings where government officials discuss important issues and decide how to spend taxpayer money.