Tuesday, January 22, 2013

0 Glen Rock custodians to address school board on pay, benefits - NorthJersey.com

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Monday January 21, 2013, 2:18 PM

District custodial workers reportedly seeking union representation to improve their pay and benefits are expected to address the Glen Rock Board of Education at Monday night's public meeting.

The group is directly employed by Aramark, the contractor providing Glen Rock's school custodians since the function was outsourced as an economy move beginning with the 2011-12 school term. While public debate over the initiative was contentious and often emotional through the period leading to its implementation, trustees and district administration have since declared it a major success on both financial and functional counts.

Eugenio H. Villasante, of Local 32BJ of the national Service Employees International Union, informed the Glen Rock Gazette that he is "helping the workers organize to raise standards in the industry so they can support their families."

Responding to an e-mailed question, he later wrote that to his knowledge, no trustees or other district officials had been previously contacted by workers or the union, and were unaware of the group's pending appearance at the meeting.

"Monday is (our) opportunity to raise these important issues," he added.

Villasante's original statement to the Gazette said that in outsourcing the function, authorities were expecting to save taxpayers' dollars. "But are we?" he wrote, describing the situation of one worker as representative of other Aramark employees servicing the district facilities.

He stated that as a cleaner at Clara Coleman School, she is "struggling to get by and forced to put her children on state insurance because she cannot afford to pay the high premiums under Aramark's plan" - adding that she and co-workers will "be giving testimony of their struggle" at the meeting.

The advisory quoted the employee as saying, "I'm a single mother and when I needed to put my son on my insurance it cost $240 per month. On my salary, I can't afford to pay that much for health insurance. The cost of insurance goes up but Aramark will not give us a raise," the quote concluded.

Villasante wrote that, "The janitors at (the) Glen Rock School District work hard to make sure that the schools are clean. Next Monday (tonight) they will be asking for the district's support to help them get what they deserve: decent pay, fair treatment, respect, and a voice on the job."

Interim school superintendent Raymond Albano, Business Administrator/Board Secretary Michael Rinderknecht and BOE President Sheldon Hirschberg declined to comment on the statement or tonight's scheduled appearance when contacted by the Gazette via e-mail this morning. A message left with a representative of Aramark were not immediately returned.

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