Last week, this paper had a front page article on the School Boardís decision to outsource custodial services. For those of you who have seen my column over the last three years, you know that I have locked horns with the school board many times. The Avon Grove School board had a change in many seats, this past January. I had fears that the newcomers, were going to be just like the outgoing folks. On Thursday, May 22, they proved me wrong.
The board voted unanimously to outsource the custodial services, and save taxpayers $700,000 per year.
It was so refreshing to see these fine individuals take the taxpayerís concerns, and react in a very prudent manner. The vote was accomplished, in spite of a huge turnout of union district workers, who took turns complaining about the change in their lives. The reality is, the change to most of them will be insignificant. The board made sure that all current custodians will be first in line for the jobs provided by the sub-contractor. I suspect that the contractor will need nearly as many people to do just about the same work. So where is the $700,000 going to come from? It will come out of the pockets of the union leaders. The custodians, will get lower pay, but they wonít have to pay union dues out of it. This will be a substantial savings. The union leaders, only want what is best for the union leaders. They donít care about the rank and file. I know, I was an Airline Pilotís Association member, for seven years. The union leaders negotiated for pilots to take my job, at 60 percent of my pay back when TWA was still in business. I swore that I would never take another union job, for the rest of my life.
The Railway Labor Act, provides the right for workers to assemble and achieve a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). When it was passed (1926), it was very much needed by our nation. Mine workers and railway workers were brutalized. Here we are, almost 90 years later. Many things have changed, including our economy. Fortunately, the act doesnít force local school boards into holding on to outdated, and costly hiring practices.
There will likely be some disgruntled custodians. Iím sure a few of them will not carry over to the new contractor, for one reason or another. For those custodians who have worked hard, and really take their jobs seriously, they will find a better place in a for profit corporation, that needs them as much as the district does. Some bennies may be cut, but that will always happen during a shift.
Take a moment, when you get a chance, and send a note to thank your local school board members for doing the right thing, and making sure the good custodians we had, will stay on the job. Without the union people stealing from them, or telling them things that are just plain false, custodians will be in a better place.
David Paul Snyder