NEW: Labor Dispute Delays School Opening in North Kingstown
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
A labor dispute delayed the opening of North Kingstown schools, according to a letter sent to parents by Superintendent Phil Auger.
“It is unfortunate that the NKESP and NEARI have decided to disrupt school in North Kingstown,” he wrote. “The rhetoric, driven by the NEARI state organization, has been disrespectful, completely out of order, and much of it has been simply untrue.”
In June, the School Committee voted to lay off 26 janitors while moving to privatize the school district’s custodial department. North Kingstown would partner with GCA Services Group, a national company which claims the average client saves 20 percent by outsourcing custodial work.
The decision was part of a series of efforts to reduce costs within a district that was facing a $211,000 deficit, according to North Kingstown Patch. The committee also froze the salaries of members of the Educational Support Professionals (ESP) union as part of unilateral contract changes that also included an increase in health insurance co-pays and reduce sick and vacation time.
“This group intentionally waited for high school students to actually be on busses before striking,” Auger wrote. “It is a cheap tactic, and unfortunately it holds all of our kids hostage, mine included.”
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