District, private company pay to settle dispute
A Shiawassee County school district and a private company will pay 22 school employees whose jobs were outsourced to the private firm to settle a dispute over the employees’ bargaining rights.
JACKSON – Just weeks after settling a three-year contract with the union representing school bus drivers and mechanics, some Northwest school officials are considering outsourcing those jobs to a private company.
At stake for the 29 transportation workers, who have a near-spotless driving record, are wages, health insurance, and a secure retirement. The district appears to be targeting health insurance provided to the employees, whose annual wages of about $12,000 to $13,000 are so low that many are forced to work an extra job – or two – just to make ends meet.
Stevie Ruppert, left, and Helen Loop are cooks in the Pine River school district.
After privatizing the management of its food service operation resulted in cost overruns, the Pine River Area Schools school board took a bold step.
It allowed the cooks—still district employees— to run the program instead. Within months, the cooks turned things around financially. Ten years later, they’re still dishing up major savings. “I don’t know why everybody doesn’t just do this,” said Helen Loop, head cook at LeRoy Elementary School in Osceola County.
MEA will continue to fight efforts to bust unions, privatize support staff
NEW — May 20 Press Release:
Despite the persistent efforts of MEA members both at and away from the bargaining table, the Southfield Board of Education voted 5-2 on April 22 to fire more than 350 custodial, maintenance and transportation employees—and MEA members—and sell their services to private companies. Read more about what happened that night in Southfield.
In a news release, MEA vowed to closely monitor the school district and the out-of-state companies they contracted with, holding them all accountable to their promise that such a move would save money and improve education. Click here to read the news release.
"The Southfield school board members said this decision was in the best interests of students—and we're going to hold them accountable for this decision," said MEA President Iris K. Salters in this morning's release. "Student test scores better improve, class sizes better get smaller, necessary classroom supplies better be provided. And, most of all, the district better actually save at least $6 million a year. If not, MEA will show the community how the school board lied when it made this decision."
The board's unconscionable action comes after a report released by the Great Lakes Center pointed to evidence that privatization does not necessarily save schools money or offer improvements in support services. Click here to read more.
MEA will continue to fight these blatant attempts to bust unions, harm local communities and economies and threaten the education of public school students.
MEA ESP Caucus president calls study ‘a quantitative, unbiased resource we can use to fight privatization.’
A new report that examines the outsourcing of transportation, food and custodial services in public schools urges caution before rushing to privatize.
Vermont school administrators Drs. William Mathis and Lorna Jimerson say in their report that privatizing sometimes saves districts money, but many times it does not.
Tom Zaglaniczny receives Brunner Award for fighting off privatization in Grosse Pointe
The man known across his school district and community as “Tommy Z” last year waged a successful campaign against privatizing the jobs of 87 support staff members in Grosse Pointe Public Schools.
For those efforts, Tom Zaglaniczny received MEA’s highest honor for support personnel, the Leon A. Brunner Award, at the MEA ESP Statewide Conference in Traverse City on April 4.
Privatization’s goal is simple and direct: Break the back of the public sector labor movement.
That analysis came from Elaine Bernard, executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Trade Union Program, in her keynote speech before 350 MEA members at the ESP Statewide Conference in Traverse City on April 5.
Other Privatization News
Updated: April 9, 2013 9:48 AM