Janitors face privatization in Rhode Island
June 30, 2010
EAST GREENWICH, RI — Nineteen workers on the janitorial staff of the public schools here are facing unemployment after the East Greenwich School Committee voted in favor of a privatization plan, according to the Socialist Worker.
But this attack on union workers didn''t happen without a fight: Hundreds of people confronted the committee at successive meetings in June — and made it clear that school officials were acting in defiance of students, staff and the community, the article stated.
According to the article, the committee was scheduled to finalize its decision on June 22, however, when members learned that a protest was being organized, they pushed the vote back to a June 24 meeting — but the protest happened anyway.
The committee tried to hold an executive meeting that is usually closed to the public, but union members and concerned citizens took over the room, making speeches and challenging the committee members to defend their action, the article noted.
The new contract allowed for the hiring of all current janitors, but at a $10,000-a-year pay cut, which would have put workers below the poverty level: Robert DiIorio, president of the custodial union, announced that not a single current janitor would sign on with the new contract to thunderous applause, the article added.
John Leidecker, a union representative, stated that the union would go to court to get an injunction against the committee, the article concluded.
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