September 9, 2016
Today, Teamsters Local Union No. 179 met with School Districts 201 and 111. The Districts’ so-called leaders, including Superintendant Kris Monn and Assistant Superintendant John Troy, and their attorneys, refused to meet the Union committee face-to-face. Nevertheless, the Union made every effort, through a mediator, to reach a fair contract for the Districts’ bus drivers and aides and to end the near ten-month-long labor dispute.
The Union proposed a contract that would provide critical contractual protections for the workers, but would cost the Districts and their taxpayers almost nothing. The Union proposed a wage freeze for drivers and a modest wage increase for aides in exchange for basic contract rights, such as just cause for discipline and an anti-free rider clause. (Most aides, who care for students with disabilities and other special needs, make only about $11.50 per hour and have not had a wage increase for nearly 8 years.)
The Districts rejected the Union’s offer without any reasonable justification and conditioned any increases on the Union abandoning fundamental workplace rights, further indicating that the Districts’ intend to avoid reaching a fair agreement. (The Union has filed unfair labor practice charges with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board protesting the Districts’ bad faith bargaining.)
The Union also proposed that the Districts proceed with the long-overdue wage increases for aides, while the parties continued to negotiate. The Districts rejected this offer too. Instead, the Districts chose to withhold the small wage increase for the aides, who care for the Districts’ most vulnerable students, unless the Union gave up the basic contract terms that are vital to well being of all workers.
To top off its disrespect for workers, the Districts abruptly ended negotiations and threatened unspecified reprisal against workers on the Union’s negotiation committee, if they did not return to work. The workers did return to work to ensure that students were timely transported home, but after learning that the Districts had failed to plan for the absence of the Union’s negotiation committee members.
This obstinacy by the Districts is not just an attack on workers, it is an affront to the taxpayers. The Districts could quickly reach a contract with the Union that costs the taxpayers almost nothing. Instead, the Districts have chosen to pay thousands of dollars in needless attorneys’ fees. A freedom of information act request revealed that, through July 2016, the Districts paid more than $30,000 to the law firm of Scariano, Himes and Petrarca to bust the Union.
This waste of taxpayer money has surely increased substantially over August and will only continue to balloon as the Districts continue to pay the lawyers to bust the Union.
The Districts’ conduct in these negotiations is nothing less than shameful and has, unfortunately, increased the likelihood of further disruption to bus services.
Enough is enough.
We urge parents and other community members to contact the Districts’ management and Board members and demand that they end the Union busting now.
Superintendant Kris Monn: email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 815-467-6121 Ext. #1, Fax: 815-467-9544
Assistant Superintendant John Troy: email: email@example.com, Phone 815-467-2557, Fax 815-467-9733
Minooka Community High School District #111 Board Members: http://mchs.net/schoolboard/schoolboard.php
Minooka Community Consolidated School District #201 Board Members: http://www.min201.org/?page_id=2697