Chartiers Valley Rejects Fact-Finding Report

Chartiers Valley School District officials said they hope to continue bargaining with the union on a new contract to avert a strike or potential move to privatize bus and custodial services.

The unanimously rejected a contractual fact-finding report, although members said they hope to continue bargaining with the district’s union bus drivers, support staff and custodians.

Nearly 50 people attended the Monday morning special meeting and several pleaded with the board to accept the fact-finding report so the union and school district could move forward with a contract.

District Superintendent Brian White Jr. said they plan to continue negotiating with the union and thinks they’re “getting closer” despite rejecting the state mediator’s report.

The 140 workers have been without a contract since 2011 and are concerned their jobs might be outsourced to a private company. The Chartiers Valley Education Support Professionals union spokesman said on Friday that .

Theresa McGill, whose husband, Al, is the high school’s head custodian, said the employees have developed a close relationship with the students and is worried that outside workers might not know the inner-workings of “specialty jobs” in the schools.

“Right now you have a very good staff, a very dedicated group of workers,” McGill said.

She also pointed to work the custodians did two years ago to help evacuate Chartiers Valley Primary School and set up tables on the high school campus so the students could eat lunch.

“The students say, ‘That’s my janitor,’ and get a smile,” McGill said. “They feel comfortable enough to say hi to them and know them outside of the district.”

Michelle Sedlak said she thought the fact finder’s contract proposal was “an affront” to the drivers and custodians, and hoped the union would push back against the district. She said she was concerned about the “precious cargo” riding the buses and did not want a private company taking over the duties.

“They gave you almost every concession and there is nothing over the top (in the contract),” Sedlak said. “These people are what’s important.”

However, the board voted 8-0 to reject the report during the 30-minute meeting. Bridget Kelly did not attend because of a death in her family.

Michael Brungo, who is the school district’s attorney and lead negotiator, said Monday’s decision doesn’t mean the workers will lose their jobs.

“The parties will continue to negotiate and hopefully reach a contract,” Brungo said. “The district did not believe (the fact finder and union proposals) were realistic. Bottom line.”

He said there is no timeline or cutoff date for negotiations and hoped a decision could be reached “in the near future.”

School Director Bob Kearney voted against the fact finding report, but still showed support by clapping after each of the eight residents and workers who spoke during the meeting.

“It’s hard, but it’s about being fiscally responsible and being able to maintain the budget over the next few years,” Kearney said.

Butch Santicola, the spokesman for the union, said he's not sure why the board rejected the fact-finding report, but his group is willing to continue to negotiate.

"We’re not surprised what happened, but we are disappointed,” Santicola said. “We have no idea why they’re going after transportation and bus services."

He backed off previous statements that the union could strike as early as Wednesday morning, but said it still might be an option before the school year is over.

“Maybe this can still be worked out,” Santicola said. “We have no desire to have a strike. It’s an activity we have to do at this point. We may not have a choice. We’ll go back to the bargaining table and see what happens.”

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Supports CV Employees May 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Continued-page 6 There are incidences with privately owned school bus drivers every time you turn around. All you have to do is check this link to KDKA to see some of the more recent ones: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/tag/school-bus-accident/. You may wonder how drivers are able to still operate school buses without the proper clearances, driver license endorsements, and DUI charges - well, it’s up to the individual owner of the transit company to make sure the drivers are clean and have all the necessary checks. Unfortunately, not all owners/managers of these transit companies do just that. In fact, they make absurd excuses for their driver’s conduct behind the wheel. Visit this link and watch the recent video from KDKA where a parent followed a privately owned transportation company’s school bus driver while he violated several moving vehicle laws: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/04/28/local-father-records-school-bus-on-the-road/. Pay attention to the owner of the bus company’s comments and judge for yourself. Note - each and every one of these stories is about bus drivers from outsourced companies.
Supports CV Employees May 24, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Continued-page 7 If those aren’t enough to convince you that there are more incidences with privately owned transportation companies, allow me share with you what happened just this school year where a local district had to outsource two bus drivers to fill voids left by employees out on medical leave. Here are some scary facts about these two drivers: *Driver #1 showed several district drivers a stack of moving violation tickets he’d been issued and joked (boastfully) about them. This same driver regularly had his daughter (*not* a student of the district he was transporting) and other adults on the bus with him while he transported district students. This driver may (or may not) have had all the necessary security clearances, but did the people he had riding along with him? Do *you* think they were all criminally and child abuse checked, fingerprinted, etc.? *Driver #2 was pulled over by local police for running a red light (with a full bus-load of students on board) and could not produce any credentials to the officer. This driver also did not have any insurance on the bus, and was under the assumption that the district’s insurance would cover him (which the district does not do).
Supports CV Employees May 24, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Continued-page 8 Now let me ask you this…if a district allows this to happen (and they *did* know about all of this!), and continues to keep these bus drivers for months afterwards, with just two fill-in drivers, what precautions do you think will be taken for the children when outsourcing the entire department? I was told that the driver’s union tried to force the district to terminate these drivers based on these issues, but was unable to take issue with the district, because the district is permitted to bring in outsiders when they can’t otherwise provide the appropriate staff. Another fact about most private school bus companies you may not know: the drivers are paid by the route, not by the hour. This makes a big difference in making sure they transport the students safely, drive carefully, and not quickly as to finish their day faster for the same amount of money.
Supports CV Employees May 24, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Conclusion-page 9 If anyone would like to read the report from the fact-finder, all you have to do is Google “Chartiers Valley Fact Finder’s Report”; you’ll find it on the state’s portal. It is a very fair offering from a neutral third party. Please keep all this in mind when voting for your school board, and standing up for what’s best for the children and the community, because that’s really what this is all about. Letting go of these employees can’t hardly be good for either cause.
DJ May 29, 2012 at 09:07 PM
AMEN!!!! Wonderfully said: Supports CV employees!! Thank you !


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