Teamsters smacked down by Cook County judge

The Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center is "dangerously understaffed" and must hire private security guards to help make it safe again. That ruling came Thursday from a federal judge, who rejected complaints from the Teamsters union representing detention center guards that bringing in private guards would be unfair to employees. But center director Earl Dunlap said about 200 of his 500 positions are either vacant or filled by those repeatedly taking sick time or already on extended medical leave.

With this ruling, he said private guards will start two weeks of training on Monday.

"We're going to move expeditiously, but smartly," Dunlap said. "I'm a little concerned about potential backlash."

He said he wants to meet with union leaders soon "to reach some understanding," as most employees are willing to "get the job done," though "there are some out-of-control members here who muck it up for everybody."

"Somewhere along the line, they've got to have their feathers plucked, and that isn't going to bother me a bit," Dunlap said.

He came in last year after years of complaints of abuse, filthy conditions and political patronage at the center.

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, whose office controls hiring, declined to comment on the ruling, but has defended the hiring process - even complaining that Dunlap hasn't delivered names of qualified candidates to put into jobs.


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