SOMERVILLE, MA — With the mass-layoff of 17 school custodians now in effect, Mayor Joseph Curtatone is facing a legal battle on whether the move was legal, according to The Somerville News.
A last-minute plan — announced by Curtatone as the Board of Aldermen prepared to vote on the city''s Fiscal Year 2011 budget — avoided all 49 school custodians being laid-off in favor of private contractor AM-PM, the article stated.
However, facing criticism and protests outside City Hall, Curtatone opted for what he called a "hybrid" plan that calls for 28 positions being filled by the city''s civil service employees and two schools being controlled by AM-PM, the article noted.
The school custodian''s Chief Shop Steward, Peter Blaikie, said the announcement took the union by surprise.
According to the article, the union, which has already filed an unfair labor complaint with the state, will be filing a new complaint that the mayor is violating civil service law by firing some employees while also filling positions from a private firm.
"The mayor saved 28 jobs," Blaikie said, "but if you broke the law doing it, how good is that? It''s ridiculous."
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