School District Support Employees Vote Down Contract

By: Erica Rakow Email
By: Erica Rakow Email

After months of negotiating a contract, it looks like negotiators for the Bay Education Support Personnel Association, or BESPA, and Bay District Schools are back at square one.

In September, the union and board members declared an impasse and agreed to take their arguments to a mediator. A mediator was brought in and the two parties agreed on the contract language last month. But Monday night, union members voted down the contract, meaning it's back to the drawing board.

The contract includes three furlough days for BESPA employees that will match the furloughs administrators and teachers have already taken.

Under the deal, union members were guaranteed employment until June 5th, when the contracts will be re-examined. Members are drawing issue with that deadline, fearful their jobs may be at jeopardy if the district privatizes services.

"They don't want the district to privatize the custodial, the food service and transportation because once they give up their ownership; so to speak, it's just up for grabs. And a private company is there for profit. It's not to look out for the students," said President of BESPA, Pat Martina.

BESPA represents between 600 and 800 support employees with the school system. They have not set a date to begin new negotiations.


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  • by Banana Republic Location: Panama City on Nov 10, 2011 at 05:40 AM
    @James - Well if it's for the children why ask them to take a 5 day furlough? Let's make it 10 days. How about a 10% pay cut along with it? It's for the children you know. So James do you have evidence that BESPA member's aren't towing the line or is it normal practice for you to slander large groups of people you don't know?
  • by James Location: pc on Nov 9, 2011 at 08:10 AM
    BESPA is not worried about the students as much as they are concerned that a private company may actually require them to tow the line. Come on and take the furlough days like everybody else. If it really is about the children you would be willing to do whatever it takes to ensure there is enough money available to take care of them.
    • reply
      by concerned on Nov 10, 2011 at 04:45 AM in reply to James
      It is not the furlough days that are bothering the support staff. It is the wording in the contract that support employees would not have to be placed in a job if their position was outsourced. These are people that thought have had continuing contracts and then one day they try to take it away. They just happened to vote on it all in one lump sum. I am sure the support employees would not mind taking some furlough days if it meant keeping their jobs.
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