Member E-Mail

nopicI was able to make it to the meeting…late I thought.  As it turned out, I was the only individual present.  The meeting was intended to be a training meeting or refresher for CSEA site representatives.  However, since I was the only one present it also afforded me the opportunity to speak directly with Kenny Wilson, an Orange County CSEA representative.
 
Here is what I have been able to ascertain, which is really nothing new.  The district and union are still in negotiations regarding the layoffs and reduction of positions.  Nothing has been accepted from either side.   There should be no further discussions between administration and classified personnel regarding the elimination or hourly reduction of their hours.  If this happens, please contact a union representative with the details.  The union’s current position is no reduction of hours.
 
The union proposed a “Golden Handshake” retirement plan that should save the district the same as if they were to proceed with the layoff/reduction scenario.  I will try to send a copy to everyone; however you should be receiving a copy at your school site via district mail.  Please help inform all of your site classified personnel to look at the proposal.  In order to go into bargaining with the district, the union representation needs to have an idea of how many individuals would take this offer if it was presented to them.  If you have any questions, there are numbers listed to contact.
 
As Christy mentioned, it is extremely important to have community support present at the next school board meeting on April 22nd.  Parent support of school programs has a very positive impact on the school board.  This is not meant to be a combative front but more a plea to try to find alternative options in lieu of reducing supplemental programs…computer lab, library time, and music. 
 
Also, there is no guarantee at this time that there will be no lay-offs or reductions.  The union representation, acting upon the wishes of our collective members,  will fight for what we what.  Collective is the operative work… if the members decide to accept an offer that is presented by the board, then the union representatives will work in our favor to make sure that the transaction is handled legally and within the contract stipulations.  Currently, the members want to fight for no reductions and that is what the union is doing on our behalf.
 
We are a very unique group of individuals.  I, personally, do not know of any group within the district that has our numbers, communications lines and ongoing meetings.  When I first took over the position at Wagner due to the illness of the previous clerk, Nugget Skates, the meetings were attended by handfuls of UNPAID library personnel.  We have been so very fortunate to have individuals within our midst that have fought for us on many levels, paid meetings, board representation, training, union database (although I know we curse it every day 😮 ).  But one fact remains, paid or unpaid, the children are our first and foremost consideration.  Although, I know that I should not put in additional hours, I do (and I know I am not alone).  We want what is best for the children.
 
Personally, I think that we, with our networking opportunities, have the ability to have the CSEA representatives listen to us.  We have the opportunity to have a strong voice on how the union acts.  If we are silent, they will respond to the wishes of the majority.  All of our sites have a least one, many two or more, library personnel.  We also have computer aides that are facing the same cut backs.  By including them, we have doubled if not tripled our representation.  I don’t know about other sites, but Amy, my (not mine personally but Wagner’s) computer tech, is my right arm.  We cover each others backs all the time.  Neither of us has had to scramble to find a substitute in 12 years.  I need to make sure that she, along with all of the classified employees at my site, are aware of the information that I have obtained from these meetings. 
 
I am pleading with you, from experience, to try to fight the action to reduce the library hours.  Last year, I was one of 3 individuals that were faced with the exact situation that the entire group is currently facing.  Based on the information that I received, I chose (and I emphasize that I made the choice) not to bump a less senior clerk.  I remained at Wagner with reduced hours.  I went from 25 hours to 18.75 hours per week.  There is no additional support.  I can personally tell you that it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to accommodate release time, manage circulation, maintain the library and process new materials if your hours are reduced to 15 per week per site.  I cannot do it now and it will only get worse if I  am reduced to 15 hours per week.  Wagner is at the low end of enrollment.  What happens to those sites that have 2 or 3 times the number of students? 
 
If I knew then what I do now my position and benefits at Wagner. along with the positions at Mabel Paine and Ruby might still be intact.  PLEASE MAKE SURE TO CONTACT A PAID UNION REPRESENTATIVE IF YOU SHOULD BE CONTACTED AT ANYTIME REGARDING A REDUCTION OF HOURS OR LAYOFF!  These may be lost to me but it may not be too late for you.
 
And lastly, since it was a meeting to train site representatives (I guess I am one now), if you are not currently a member of CSEA, please reconsider.  Every classified personnel pays service fees.  These are listed as dues.  However, if your paycheck does not reflect a $1 additional deduction for dues, you are not a voting member.  You do not have access to the many wonderful benefits that are offered.  I was one that thought that I belonged to the union for years until I realized I was just paying a service fee. 
 
 
Sorry for the length and soap box dissertation.  However, please help to make our voice heard.
 
 
Janet Vash – Library Media Technician
Charles Wagner Elementary School

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6 Responses to Member E-Mail

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, its stories like these that give me hope that we (together) can work together and find an alternative way for the district to save money.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Now I wish I went to the meeting 🙂

  3. Computer Teacher says:

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Clerk Given Notice says:

    As a PM Clerk who has been told that their position will no longer be there next school year, I am truley sorry that i did not attend Teusday’s meeting. I am told that because of “seniority” I will have a job next year…but that dioes not change the fact that I will face the same challenges as now. The work loads do not change, and the amount of time to do these tasks do not change. How safe could it possibly be for our students to only have 1 adminstrative being in the front office at a time? Everyone was over worked before and foolishly thought the “survey’s” would have a positive outcome. So as we continue to attend the needs of our students, the community, and our superiors…we will not only run ourselves ragged, but still try to provide good work ethic. And we still are not certain of what next year holds.

  5. Janet Vash says:

    “Everyone was over worked before and foolishly thought the ‘surveys’ would have a positive outcome”

    As one of the first groups to work on updating our job descriptions, I want to say that I don’t think that it is or was a foolish endeavor. I have worked at Wagner Elementary as their library clerk/technician since 1993. Over the course of the years, district positions have been eliminated and those extra duties then became the responsibilty of the library personnel. Was the job description altered to reflect these new duties? No. Was there an increase in pay since we now had these additional duties? No.

    Additional time was added but these are now in jeopardy. Some of us have lost them already. I have spent many extra unpaid hours to try to catch up. I am not alone. There are numerous classified individuals that freely give of their time as a “labor of love” (thanks to another library tech for this phrase) for the children.

    Library personnel are the not only ones that give freely of their time, resources and energy. Every classified person that I have come in contact with gives so much more than the “job description”. It is all for the love of the children.

    If we continue to do the work, on our own, without compensation, we are doing an injustice to the ourselves, others within our job classifications and our schools. I am not the first to say that I hate leaving tasks unfinished. This has been the hardest part of my job. Not only do I feel inferior, because others seem to accomplish the job, but it is hard to go into a work area that always seems cluttered and unresolved.

    It goes back to the “good work ethic” that your mentioned. I have always taken pride in my work. Perhaps that is why I have put in so many unpaid overtime hours since I was hired. However, I am not paid to stay the additional hours and until I get it through my thick skull, the system will not change.

    I am certain that your job duties, time limitations, etc. have changed over time as well. It is important that EVERY little thing that we do within our positions, is documented correctly. If these duties cannot be completed within the time alloted, then we need to turn out the lights, lock the door and go home.

    It is going to be a very long process. The updating of job descriptions a first step. The pyramids were not built overnight, it took decades, BUT they started with a plan and paid workers to complete the task. The job descriptions are part of the plan and we are the workers.

  6. Sandy says:

    Thank’s Janet for posting this

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