Janesville87.2°

Janesville School District, workers, disagree on pay hike

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
November 6, 2009
— The Janesville School District is offering a wage freeze to its custodial, maintenance and food workers. The union representing those workers says the district can afford to give them a raise.

That was one of the issues raised as district and union representatives began negotiating a new work contract Thursday. The old contract ran out June 30. Affected are about 250 full- and part-time members of AFSCME Local 938.


The district’s offer calls for the salary schedule to be frozen this year and next year, although those who qualify for experience increases would receive those increases.


The district already has frozen administrators’ pay this school year and has offered a freeze to teachers. The teachers contract remains unsettled.


AFSCME representative Ed Sadlowski said the union appreciates that the community is in dire economic straits, “but we submit emphatically that the school district’s financial status is relatively sound this year.”


Sadlowski said the district’s fund balance, the amount of money designated as a reserve in its operating budget, is about 30 percent of total spending. That’s the highest percentage among Big Eight Conference districts, he said.


Sadlowski noted that workers who get raises spend those dollars locally, boosting the local economy.


“Sitting on that money” is a disservice to the students, staff and the community, he added.


The union did not suggest a specific wage increase, saying only that it should be “fair and adequate.”


District negotiators did not respond immediately to Sadlowski’s statements about wages.


Both sides presented their opening offers on insurance, vacations, overtime and other matters. All future bargaining sessions will be closed to the public. Sessions were scheduled for Dec. 9 and Jan. 7.



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