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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