Union leader off the job at JFS

Helen Youngblood
Helen Youngblood

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A union leader in Mahoning County has been suspended with pay after a heated confrontation with an administrator.

She’s accused of insubordination, as well as sending an email with abusive or threatening language to a supervisor.

Helen Youngblood, the president of AFSCME Local 2001, accuses Mahoning County Job and Family Services officials of racism and said she stands by an email she sent to an adminstrator at JFS.

“I mean, the statement they’re saying that I said, the email says what I said,” Youngblood said.

It all stems from a disciplinary hearing for another employee. Youngblood claims the administrator unnecessarily called additional security into the meeting.

“We’ve had numerous issues at the department of human services and every time there is an issue, this particular department head calls security, but she only calls security when it involves minority people.

In Youngblood’s disciplinary notice, it states she was insubordinate with administrator Lori Murphy during a meeting on Sept. 25 and refused to comply with the administrator’s instructions. Youngblood also is accused of using abusive and threatening language in an email.

After the meeting, Youngblood sent an email to Murphy that stated: “I did not suggest security. That is your choose [sic] to call them. What is the purpose of security? How many will be present? Will security be called for black people only? If you are that afraid of black people, then maybe you should discuss your fear with Mr. Bush. Is he also black? If he is, maybe you should go to the white commissioners. Do you have a rope for a lynching in your office?.”

“We felt it was action that rated, merited discipline, so she was suspended with pay per the contract,” said JFS Executive Director Bob Bush.

Youngblood now faces her own disciplinary hearing, which could result in punishment up to and including termination.

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