Plum schools, custodians to resume negotiations
By Karen Zapf
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Representatives of the Plum School District and its custodial and maintenance employees are expected to go back to the bargaining table this month.
The anticipated meeting is a consequence of the workers, members of Teamsters Local Union 205, last month rejecting the district's contract offer, Plum School Board members said.
Union officials could not be reached for comment.
“Unfortunately, we have to go back to the table and revisit (negotiations) this month,” board member Michelle Stepnick said. “I don't want to see anything happen to the custodial staff. I have a great deal of respect for them. Hopefully, we will work things out.”
The workers' rejection of the deal occurred less than a month after the school board at the Nov. 26 meeting approved a three-year contract that was retroactive to July 1 and would have run through July 1, 2016.
Board members declined to provide details of the proposed pact. They cited the fact that the Teamsters voted it down, and negotiations are expected to resume.
Employees are continuing to work under the terms of the contract that expired June 30. Custodians at the highest level of the pay scale receive $20.30 an hour, while maintenance workers at that point on the scale make $20.80. New hires in both categories are paid $11.50 an hour.
There are about 40 employees in the two categories.
The workers paid more in the expired contract for health benefits than they had in the past.
Board member Kevin Dowdell, chairman of the personnel committee, said one of the issues the district addressed in the negotiations is what he termed an absentee problem among the workers.
“We have had a 50-percent absentee rate on a given day,” Dowdell said. “We are trying to resolve it so we have enough people in the buildings. Some kids come in the next day, and the classrooms aren't cleaned. We've got to get these schools cleaned.”
Dowdell declined to discuss the school officials' planned remedy for the absentee issue because of the pending restart of negotiations.
Board member Joe Tommarello said he also wants to see the contract settled.
Tommarello said the board might consider proposals it received from private companies for custodial and maintenance services.
“I hope we can work something out,” Tommarello said.
Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Winter weather causes overtime, salt supply to add up in Plum
- Elementary school program in Plum shows fun and math can be in same equation
- Ex-Plum officer’s hearing set for April 23
- Plum EMS center bids to be submitted
- School attack next door hits Plum residents hard
- Hockey game scheduled in May to benefit Plum EMS