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Local 714 Involvement
In Judicial Race Proves
A Winner for
Working People


Local 714 took an active role in the November election for Erie County domestic relations judge, bucking the Democratic Party and disagreeing with the decision of the AFL-CIO. And the UE-endorsed candidate won — demonstrating the effectiveness of the grassroots political action.

In Erie County, in north-central Ohio, the Domestic Relations (Family Court) Judge is elected to a six-year term and has authority over a number of divorce and juvenile justice-related issues, including child custody, child support, alimony and visitation. For Local 714 members at G&C Foundry, like many other working people, these are serious issues that all-too-often hit close to home.


As Craig S. Miros, melt department steward at G&C Foundry, explains: "It’s not had to find a co-worker who hasn’t gone through divorce. Since there is only one judge in our county for these issues, the caseload is very heavy, and it takes a long time for cases to get resolved. One of our local’s members even had to move out of county to get a simple dissolution. The stress from these family issues is incalculable."

That was the point made last spring when a candidate for domestic relations judge spoke at a local meeting, which marked the beginning of the union’s interest in the election. One UE member was involved in the campaign of Deborah Wood, a 14-year career family law attorney, and a member of the Bar Association’s family law committee, who faced three other candidates in the Democratic primary. Each had less inexperience.

To the surprise of many, one of those candidates won: Mary Ann Barylski, a 13-year career criminal prosecutor who had no family law experience.


Still, Miros says, "Our local might not have gotten involved at this point had it not been for the actions of the AFL-CIO." The federation voted to endorse only Democratic Party candidates, regardless of qualification or proven experience in helping workers, Miros says. One Democratic candidate went so far as to claim that he enjoyed "the endorsement of ALL local unions."

As it happened, the Republican nominee for domestic relations judge, Robert DeLamatre, had a good background in family law, a record of helping workers in these issues, and served on the Family Law Committee. And, as it turned out, the race for domestic relations judge was the "hot button" election in Erie County. "Putting our foot down there not only would help all families, but would tell the Democratic Party that they don’t own our vote," Miros says.

At Local 714’s Sept. 30 membership meeting, the local union voted to endorse DeLamatre based on UE guidelines — qualifications and experience helping workers.


"In the fall, we were active in literature drops throughout the county," Miros says. "We became regular fixtures at the public speaking forums, with a union representative at those forums, taking notes on what was said, posing worker-related questions whenever possible. Doing so had a visible effect, shaking the confidence of the Democratic candidate and her advisors."

On Election Night, Nov. 7, the tally revealed a 53 percent-47 percent victory for DeLamatre.

"When the best interests of workers’ personal lives are at stake, real experience is all that matters," Miros says. "This was another example of how grassroots UE political action is effective. In the future, our local may be getting more involved, maybe even sponsoring a candidates’ forum."

UE News - 12/00

Home -> UE News -> 2000 Archives -> Article

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