JCPS employees say district will not negotiate school staff wages
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -– Roughly 30 members of the local city and government employee union rallied outside JCPS headquarters Monday saying it’s been more than two years since the district talked wages.
“Stand up, fight back,” chanted employees in union t-shirts holding picket signs.
They’re some of the lowest paid staff within JCPS and want the district to negotiate their salaries.
"This is the second year in a row where they have refused to sit down at the table and even have a conversation with these workers," said local AFSCME spokesperson Carli Stevenson.
AFSCME Local 4011 represents about 3,200 members. These workers include instructional aides, nurses, secretaries, and lunchroom attendants who start out at $13 an hour.
Some of them have been with JCPS for more than two decades and say they still only make $21,000 dollars a year.
"According to our contract we're supposed to sit down every June and at least have a conversation about wages,” said Stevenson. “There's not a guarantee they'll get a raise -- but we're saying 'hear these people out.'"
Union leaders say JCPS met with them one time in 2014 for only 15 minutes. The next day the district made an offer with no negotiating and no agreement.
"It's sad that last year JCPS never negotiated with our classified employees -- in spite of the quote I just read you in the agreed upon contract," said one man addressing school board members.
"And they offered the last best and final and by any definition of fair bargaining or any sort of exchange and they've since refused to meet this year as well,” said Andres Burcham with AFSCME Local 4011.
The state's mandated a two percent raise this year which these employees will get. But union members say bargaining set for June never happened, and wage talks never took place.
JCPS Chief Operations Officer Michael Raisor says that's not what the contract says.
"When we implemented the deal it was a two-year deal so it will not expire until next spring when we will negotiate wages again, but only wages," Raisor said.
He said during the last meeting the union also wanted to raise dues.
“When a group's unwilling to come off of a concession that has nothing to do with the items that are being negotiated, there's nothing we can do about that," said Raisor.
Local 4011 filed a grievance with the district to enforce its contract. JCPS says it will try and solve the dispute in November.
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