MONROE, MI — Custodians with Monroe Public Schools
agreed on a contract that avoids full-blown privatization and will save the district money, but some bitterness still lingers because of the process and concessions the workers made, according to the Monroe News.
The 50 employees agreed to a package that includes a 1 percent pay cut, increases in health coverage costs and reductions in other incentives, the article stated.
Tim Cady of the Michigan Education Association
, who represented the custodians in negotiations, said the contract will affect lives negatively because it equals a double-digit percentage in reductions in the employees'' overall income.
"It''s really the lesser of numerous evils," Cady said. "Do I think it was fair? Do I think it was necessary? No. It''s a shame. What the board did throughout this entire process was totally unfair."
Board Vice President David Vensel took exception to his statements regarding the board''s efforts: "I think the board bent over backwards for the custodians to maintain their pension," Mr. Vensel said.
"I highly disagree with Mr. Cady. I think we have looked at the people. We worked to protect the older employees to make sure they got their full pension," Vensel noted.
The agreement is considered a hybrid approach to privatization: For months, custodians argued that privatizing their services would jeopardize workers'' jobs and children’s health because the private companies would not hire quality help, the article added.