The West Shore School Board voted Thursday night to outsource the jobs of more than 120 bus drivers and custodians.
It was a move that sent tempers flaring and tears flowing.
It was a packed house at the meeting. Union members showed solidarity by wearing green T-shirts. Many of them took to the podium.
"I ask you tonight, when you vote to potentially outsource my job as well as many others, that you do the right thing and vote no," said Seth Coffman, who has been working with the school district as a custodian for nine years.
But despite workers' desperate pleas, the board voted 7-1 to outsource more than 80 bus driving jobs, and 6-2 to outsource more than 40 custodian jobs, according to union representatives.
"I am a graduate of the West Shore School District and I'm actually embarrassed to admit that I'm a product of the West Shore School District after the decision that was made here tonight," Coffman said.
Coffman said union workers made generous concessions during contract negotiations, but could only give so much.
"The employees were only looking for something that's fair: a fair day's wage for the work that we've put in," Coffman said. "We care about the students and the staff, and I'm just shocked at what the district has decided to do to us.
The vote had union workers, whose salaries average less than $20,000, asking, "Why us?"
"The people at the top are the people that get the lavish salaries and have the great benefits, and those are the people we feel the board should be looking at taking from as opposed to the people that make the least," Coffman said.
District officials said employees losing their jobs will be able to apply for the same job with the private companies. However, there is no guarantee they will be hired.
If workers are hired, the union said the pay and benefits will not be as good.
abc27 News asked school board members for a statement, but they declined comment.