Uhrichsville, Ohio (Tusco TV) - City administrators are asking council to repeal a decades-old municipal ordinance that created some friction during Claymont’s 22-day labor strike.
Mayor Rick Dorland says he and Law Director JJ Ong are recommending council pass legislation to repeal the city's anti-strikebreaker ordinance passed in 1967. He says they're concerned the ordinance could put the city at risk as the courts have routinely found similar laws to be unconstitutional.
"We received a legal opinion from our law director, case law where other similar ordinances throughout the state were deemed unconstitutional. Judge Hillyer from Southern District Court stepped in and said that if you enforce it, you arrest someone, I’m going to dismiss it as being unconstitutional, and then you’re opening yourself up for civil liability, and the law director told us the same thing prior to that," he says.
Dorland says the ordinance also put Uhrichsville in the middle of a legal dispute between Claymont and the union that was on strike. Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Edward O’Farrell dismissed the case when the strike ended, but Dorland thinks council should go ahead and get the ordinance off the books before it causes any more problems.
"I felt as though it should be repealed because who knows what may happen next year or someone else that has a union in town could go on strike and we’d be in the same boat, so that’s why I proposed that it be rescinded," he says.
A four-to-two vote during Thursday's council meeting brought the matter to the floor as an emergency, but the same margin halted a vote on the first reading. Council members Buck Cottrell and Eric Harmon cast the two no votes both times with Linda Davis abstaining. Cottrell says he still thinks the ordinance should stay and the city should enforce it.
"I still feel that it was in the books and it should stay there, and rulings both ways sometimes they’re unenforceable but I still feel it should be on the books and we shouldn’t be messing with it," he says.
The legislation will now have to go through two more readings before council can call a vote.