EVSC Offers Some Employees Vote Out of Union

The EVSC is offering a chance for school secretaries and bus drivers to disband from Teamsters Local 215 and continue contract negotiations individually. Local 215 President Chuck Whobrey calls it "union busting."
There has been a stalemate between the EVSC and Teamsters Local 215 since their labor contract expired July 1st. The EVSC is extending the same contract that was overwhelmingly shot down in early June, to custodians, special education assistants, and bus aides.

The EVSC is offering something new to other union employees. The new offer is a chance for school secretaries and bus drivers to disband from the local union and continue contract negotiations individually. Local 215 President Chuck Whobrey says it's union busting.

Since contract negotiations stalled picketers have marched outside the EVSC building. Pending a vote this week there could be far fewer picketers available.

"We've had a significant percentage of secretaries and bus drivers that have come forward and said we don't want to be apart of the union anymore," said EVSC Superintendent Dr. David Smith.

Local 215 President Chuck Whobrey says he is not against a vote for representation if it's what the secretaries and bus drivers want, but he says the school board is not giving teamsters enough time to discuss a vote.

"Literally when they passed this we were less than two days from when the voting was going to start. That has never happened in any place that I've ever dealt with," said Whobrey.

The decision to continue union representation will be decided by a majority vote from the total number of employees in each separate group, both secretaries and bus drivers. Whobrey says typically the vote is based on a majority of those who cast a vote.

"In every other labor representation election it is a majority of those voting and that's how this election should be conducted," said Whobrey.

Whobrey says the labor representation vote is not being conducted fairly, Doctor Smith says it's fair for the EVSC employees.

"This has never been about Teamsters 2-15. This has always been about our employees," said Dr. Smith.

"This is the exact model that in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker used in his union busting efforts," said Whobrey.

Dr. Smith would not guarantee anything to employees who decline union representation, but says non-union EVSC workers carry very similar benefits.

"They can say they value their employees and they care about their employees all they want actions speak louder than words and the way they've behaved has been truly hostile to their employees in so many situations," said Whobrey.

"We've weathered over $60 million worth of losses in four years. Not a single employee lost a job. So it doesn't matter what we say our actions certainly speak very loudly for how we value our employees," says Dr. Smith.

The vote for secretaries and bus drivers to keep or decline union representation will be tallied Thursday night. Union custodians, special education assistants, and bus aides are expected to decide on their contract offer within the next two weeks.
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