Workers’ Ire Over Obstructionism By Cleveland Metropolitan School District Administrators Sparks Ad Campaign, Public Records Request

Cleveland, Ohio – Despite an overwhelming supermajority rejection of a recent report generated from the Mutually Agreed Dispute (MAD) resolution process that would have eroded nearly four decades of bargaining history between workers and the district, Cleveland Metropolitan School District chief negotiator Nick Jackson continues to refuse to bargain with the nearly 800 school district employees represented by the Service Employees International Union District 1199.

“Nick Jackson and CMSD administrators seem determined to strip working people of their rights and dignity,” said Becky Williams, President of Service Employees International Union District 1199. “Our members prepare our children’s meals, maintain clean environments for learning and ensure our schools run efficiently, and that’s why we are asking for the community’s support to encourage CMSD to sit down and negotiate a fair contract with the workers.”

Workers will begin to air their message on Wednesday, November 27th on WKYC (NBC), WEWS (ABC), WJW (FOX) and on a variety of cable channels well into the month of December. You can preview the ad by clicking here: http://www.seiu1199.org/cmsd_tvad/

The average wage of the nearly 800 Cleveland Metropolitan School District employees represented by SEIU District 1199 is just $23,000 and if CMSD administrators get their way, the ability of workers to provide for themselves and their families could be at risk. Workers rejected, as part of the report generated from the Mutually Agreed Dispute (MAD) resolution process, the following issues:

  • No vacation time for 10-month employees which comprise over 600 of the nearly 800 workers represented by SEIU District 1199, the second largest bargaining unit at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Most 10-month employees use this vacation time to cover their wages for unpaid time during the holidays and spring break, which otherwise they would have to go without pay.
  • A combination of several secretary classifications, giving management the sole authority for determining position qualifications. This could open the district up to nepotism, cronyism, favoritism and discrimination, something that Cuyahoga County has seen too much of in the recent past.
  • The loss of seniority as the way to recall workers who have been placed on layoff. This provision was rejected both here in Cleveland and across Ohio when voters came out to repeal Senate Bill 5 in 2011. The right of being recalled by seniority has been a bedrock principal of the collective bargaining agreement for the last 37 years. Management could then use any mark on a worker’s personnel record as a reason not to recall an employee, using recall as an act of further discipline.

Workers also sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to CMSD’s Nick Jackson in hopes of uncovering the rationale for the employer to continue to bargain in bad faith. Under the Ohio Open Records Law, §149.43 et seq., SEIU District 1199 representatives have requested the following public records:

  • All correspondence between Nicholas Jackson and Frank Jackson that occurred between January 1, 2013 and November 18, 2013 containing the following terms: vacation time, seniority, employee classification, layoff, wages, bargaining, SEIU, or union
  • All correspondence between Nicholas Jackson and Eric Gordon that occurred between January 1, 2013 and November 18, 2013 containing the following terms: vacation time, seniority, employee classification, layoff, wages, bargaining, SEIU, or union
  • All correspondence between Eric Gordon and Frank Jackson that occurred between January 1, 2013 and November 18, 2013 containing the following terms: vacation time, seniority, employee classification, layoff, wages, bargaining, SEIU, or union

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