Unions unite to battle JCPS recommendations to freeze salaries, loosen code of conduct

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Four unions have banned together against JCPS to fight the district's proposed conduct and salary changes.

Union leaders met Monday to discuss a plan of action. The meeting comes after JCPS announced recommendations that would loosen the district's code of conduct and freeze salaries.

Leaders from JCTA, AFSCEM, SEIU and Teamsters have now formed an alliance against the district to let their voices be heard and show board members the overwhelming lack of support in the district's proposals.

John Stovall with Teamsters Local 783 says discipline remains a problem in Jefferson County schools. 

"It's at the point now, pretty much -- discipline -- there is none," Stovall said. "And then you tell them there's not going to be a discipline issue in schools, and they've got a list of what you can and cannot be suspended for, and it's pretty impossible to get suspended nowadays. And then you take that and throw it on top of staff freezes and wage freezes, and it creates a climate that's a hostile work environment, people don't feel appreciated and they feel like what they do in their job and their livelihood doesn't matter to the district. 

Union leaders say they technically aren't allowed to go on strike but will take other necessary steps to fight the recommendations, and they says they plan to pack the house at next Tuesday's board meeting to voice their concerns.

On Monday, JCPS officials released the following statement:

We respect and value our JCPS teachers and staff, and appreciate their hard work and dedication to the success of our students.  We must work together to review the current salary structure in the district and develop a new Code of Conduct that is fair and provides clear expectations and consequences for behavior. 

An independent consultant group conducted a salary study that was presented to the board.  It found JCPS is paying premium salaries to teachers.  That is good news and something we want to continue in order to attract and retain the best teachers.  The study also found JCPS is paying above market salaries for more than 7,000 other positions.  A Community Advisory Team (CAT) observed that the district may consider not increasing salaries, subject to negotiations, until a path forward is developed to achieve internal and external equity. 

Regarding the Code of Conduct, a committee has worked for several months to help update our code and ensure it is fair and provides clear expectations and clear consequences for behavior.  The committee only provided an update on its work to the board.  The work is not done and there is no final recommendation.  The ultimate goal is to make the code more clear, concise, consistent and proactive to better serve our students and staff.

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