MINERAL RIDGE, Ohio (WYTV) – Youngstown Developmental Center staff members are ready to fight the decision to close the center in two years.
Union leaders met with staff members on Monday to discuss the details of their fight against Ohio’s Department of Developmental Disabilities. So far, the union has more than 20 signatures supporting a bus trip to Columbus on Friday and picketing at the end of February.
“I am fighting for the people who work there and I am fighting for the people who live there. The area needs the jobs. The area needs this place to stay open,” OSCEA union chapter leader Margaret Bury.
The fight between the union and Ohio’s Department of Developmental Disabilities impacts more than 350 people who live and work at the Youngstown Developmental Center. The Department pf Developmental Disabilities said the number of individuals living in developmental centers has decreased since 2007.
“I just want to say to the governor, please don’t close our center,” Rosalie Maczko, 78, of Struthers said.
Her sister has been living at the center in Mineral Ridge for 30 years.
“I am getting too old to fight,” Maczko said.
Plans are now in place to fight this closing, including protesting, and she is fighting with them.
“I don’t know if this will do any good. I am hoping it will. I am hoping senators, and congressmen, and representatives, and committeemen will listen to me and try to stop closing this center. I really need this for my sister,” Maczko said.
“This specific developmental center was one of the lowest ones to manage across the state. So we know it was not an economic move. We believe it was a political one,” staff representative Doug Sollitto said.
This could be a long battle, but Bury said she is fighting it, not only for her job, but for Maczko’s sister as well.
“I don’t know what we can do, but we are going to fight. We are not going down without a fight,” Bury said.