[The Rev. Michael Mann (from left) of St. Andrew United Methodist Church of Carol Stream; the Rev. Denise Tracy, chaplain with the Elgin Police Department; and the Rev. C.J. Hawking, executive director of Arise Chicago, a labor and faith community group, speak to gathered strikers outside the Kane County Judicial Center near St. Charles.]
The Rev. Michael Mann of St. Andrew United Methodist Church of Carol Stream said the United Methodist Church has a long history of supporting workers and their right to organize.
"… That way we address grievances in the workplace and bring justice for all," he said, adding it's important to him to stand with the workers.
Jared Weiser, youth counselor and a union steward, said the strike has gone on for 23 days, but they are standing firm, noting the strikers include people who have been on the job from six months to 20 years.
He said his co-workers have created bonds with individuals as they work at behavior modification. He added that later they receive thank-yous from people whose lives they helped turn around.
Because of the strike, thousands of offenders have gone unmonitored, Weiser said.
"It's a risk to public safety," Weiser said. "The rapport we've built is crucial. We want a fair contract. … It matters what we do."