School workers take 20% pay cut

Clarkston bus drivers and custodians are doing their part to solve the school district’s budget woes, to the tune of $790,000.
District administration and union representatives from Clarkston transportation and custodial services worked since January, when budget recommendations to cut $13 million to the 2010-2011 budget included outsourcing the two services.
Both agreed to reopen and change their contracts, and the board approved the changes during their meeting on March 22, 6-0.
‘I have come here with mixed emotions and a heavy heart,? said Karl Bell, Michigan Education Association Uniserv Director for Clarkston.
‘Deals have been reached. It is a deal more adequate in terms of dollars that will help district in concessions.
Bell shared his concern during the board meeting about how quickly the contracts were negotiated and final concessions were made and the circumstances behind it as well as and the impact – a 20 percent cut in compensation.
‘It’s a lot of money by anybody’s standards,? said Bell. ‘We have proven the Clarkston family and our family is important to us.?
The total reduction in transportation services is $302,942.
The letter of agreement for both services covers the next two school years, 2010-2011 and 2011-2012.
The changes for the Clarkston Transportation Association include reduction of 20 paid days per year, freeze of one percent increase and longevity for two years, change insurance to HMO health plan, employee contribution towards insurance $650 per year, eliminate attendance incentive pay, eliminate cash in lieu payment, eliminate HMO share payment, eliminate reimbursement for coats, physical and license renewal.
The total reduction in custodial services is $487,777.
The contract changes include reduction of 12 paid days per year, reduction of $2.50 per hour wages, freeze one percent, all steps and longevity for two years, change insurance to HMO health plan, employee contribution towards insurance $650 per year, eliminate shift premiums, no double time, eliminate cash in lieu payment, no HMO cost share payment, eliminate uniforms for one year, all recalled employees will receive $2.50 less per hour, any new hires receive $11 per hour and only single or two person insurance.
Also, within both letters of agreement is a good faith statement.
Human Resources Director Linda Nester said it is included in case economic times get better or worse for the district.
‘It’s a clarification point, if things get worse and district has to file an emergency plan with the state of Michigan we may come back and say this isn’t quite enough,? she said. ‘Likewise in good faith, if the state restores the cuts, fund equity is built back up and the district is in a healthier situation than in good faith act we would come back and something would be reinstated or there would be an approvement to their working conditions.?
‘We have not just taken the cuts to save our jobs but to protect our children,? said driver Mike Morris. ‘I commend our bus drivers who voted overwhelmingly to take the concession packages that would reduce our wages and our benefits.?