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Do juvenile center workers need degree?

Friday, January 01, 2010
Chicago Sun-Times
by Lisa Donovan

Concerned that a new college degree requirement for Cook County's juvenile jail employees could cause as many as 180 detention center veterans to lose their jobs, a labor union and a veteran employee have filed suit to exclude "incumbent" workers from that policy.

George Sanchez, a counselor at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center who doesn't have a degree, and Teamsters Local 714 filed suit Thursday against Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans, among others.

A 2007 change in state law removed governance of the 500-bed facility from the County Board president and handed it to Evans, who could take the reins from a transitional administrator as soon as this year.

That would trigger a requirement for JTDC workers, now Circuit Court employees, to hold a bachelor's degree in social work or a related field. Union employees say the policy is vague and that they would like a ruling on whether it applies to existing employees.

Neither Evans nor a Teamsters spokesman could be reached for comment.



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