Union: West Shore issued tough ultimatum - abc27 WHTM

Union: West Shore issued tough ultimatum

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The union representing some 200 workers in the West Shore School District says the district has issued the employees a difficult ultimatum: either accept substantial wage and benefit cuts or lose their jobs to a private firm.

It involves cafeteria workers, custodians and bus drivers in the district that are represented by AFSCME District Council 89.

Michael Fox, the director of AFSCME Council 89, says union members are coming off a two-year contract that saw them have a wage freeze in the first year and a 1.5 percent wage increase the second year.

"So, this is not a bargaining unit that has taken a lot from the general fund or the taxpayers of the West Shore School District, but I have to say has given a lot," Fox said.

abc27 News called the West Shore School District, but spokesman Ryan Argot said he was unable to comment because of ongoing negotiations.

Fox said the West Shore School District has not bargained in good faith with the union.

"Since January, they've canceled more meetings than we've had," he said.

Fox said the district would be looking to privatize those positions, much like what was done with the bus drivers in the Central Dauphin School District. He said this is the third time the district has tried to turn the bus driving over to a private firm, but he believes the district is using the wrong numbers in figuring out the costs.

"They are saying they'll save about, I think it's $1.7 million a year," said Fox. "Now, our analysis shows that it's actually going to cost the school district $1.9 million a year to privatize."


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