County Treasurer facing labor law violation charges

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Champaign County Treasurer Marisol Hughes is now the face of more controversy. The union that represents 465 county employees has filed a complaint against her for unfair labor practices.

The charge was filed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). It lists Hughes and County Board Chairman Giraldo Rosales, who appointed her.

The union said they started seeing problems after Hughes was appointed. They requested a labor management meeting to help the treasurer become familiar with the union contract and her obligations under law. “It was immediately obvious in that meeting that Ms. Hughes had no interest in carrying out her legal obligation to work with us,” said Cecelia Phillips, Vice President of AFSCME Local 900. “Shortly after the meeting, we heard she began telling AFSCME members not to call the union about their concerns.”

The complaint says Hughes fired an employee named Allan Axelrod on May 22 and that he was fired for doing “protected union and concerted activity”.

County board member Eric Thorsland says he’s disappointed Hughes didn’t resolve staff issues without AFSCME stepping in, but he’s grateful they did. He added that he does “not want to see any further problems with the treasurer regarding her staff or see retaliation for filing the complaint”.

As “relief” for what happened, AFSCME is asking that Axelrod get his job back and for Hughes to stop interfering with employees trying to exercise their rights. 

WCIA3 stopped by the county treasurer’s office to talk to Hughes. She wasn’t there at the time, but we talked to an employee who didn’t want to go on camera. They said, “No one is treated fairly” by Hughes. We were later able to reach Hughes by phone. She said she couldn’t comment on pending matters. The state’s labor relations board is investigating the charge.

Hughes’ office came under fire earlier this week. That’s because people who paid their property taxes on time were being charged late fees. She said her office was working on the issue and that they were overwhelmed.

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