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School Custodians Accept 15 Percent Wage Cut in New Contract

The new contract will reportedly save the Cranston School District $2 million over three years.

The Cranston School Committee announced that a new collective bargaining agreement has been reached with the Cranston Custodian's Union, N.A.G.E. Local 153, that will save the school district $2 million over three years.

School Committee Chairwoman Andrea Iannazzi said in a release that the new agreement will provide "vital savings" and she commended the custodians for "taking this step, which is in the best interest of our students."

The contract features major concessions by custodians, who accepted a 15 percent pay cut effective March 12 of this year and major changes to their benefits package.

The contract should prevent the district from opting to outsource custodial services, which appeared likely to happen without major savings in a new contract. The School Committee will vote on the contract March 19 and it then heads to the City Council for final approval.

Along with the pay cut, union members will see their medical insurance cost sharing amount double from 10 to 20 percent, prescription drug co-payments increase and a new $500 deductible will be instituted.

Custodians will now have fewer paid holidays, longevity pay will be waived during the contract and step increases will be frozen.

New hires after the contract is ratified will no longer be enrolled in the state pension fund and will receive defined benefits through a "401(k) type account," the release stated.

The contract will extend retroactively from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2014. Custodians have been working without a contract since last year and worrying about the potential of losing their jobs if the district decided to outsource custodial services.

The contract was negotiated by School Committeewoman Stephanie Culhane along with Iannazzi, who serve on the School Committee's Negotiating Subcommittee.

Custodians made their plea to keep services in-house in October. In a detailed presentation, Paul Saccoccia, national representative for NAGE Local 153, made the case that privatizing school custodial services would not save much money and would result in a significant drop in service quality. (The presentation is attached to this article).

“Privatization provides no job guarantees for longstanding employees who, by a large percentage, are city of Cranston taxpayers and more importantly, family income earners,” Saccoccia said. Earlier that month, the School Committee entertained five bids for custodial services, one of which verbally promised a savings of about $8 million over a five-year contract period.

The union’s presentation claimed the average custodian’s salary would decrease from $37,000 to $20,000 on average and their benefits would starkly worsen. At $20,000, the average three-person household would qualify for food stamps and Medicaid, which defeats the purpose of saving taxpayer money, Saccoccia said.

Custodians start at step 1 with a salary of $14.23 per hour, increasing gradually to step 9 at $17.92 per hour.

The average employee has between 15 and 25 years of service with the district and 56 percent live in Cranston and pay taxes in the city.

mcam March 13, 2012 at 11:19 AM
It is just another way to go after the little guy!!!
mcam March 13, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Just another way to go after the little guy!!! Why isn't there a 15% pay cut for everybody???
Steven r March 13, 2012 at 11:34 AM
This is so we can repay the ACLU's lawsuit. I told you should have taken that banner down on day one.
Tom M. March 13, 2012 at 12:40 PM
That's a large percentage pay cut for folks who don't make much to begin with. Why not go after the big fish? Great - the city will save some money, but at whose expense? How about teacher and administrator salaries and benefits? There are many more of them, and they make much more money. 20% of $30/hr is twice as much savings as 20% of $15/hr x how many more employees? 4x? 6x? Stop catching minnows and fish for the tuna!
rgl March 13, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Why doesn't administration take a 15% pay cut ?
David Davis March 13, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Instead of posting on here, why don't all you bleeding hearts get in your cars and drive to City Hall and offer to pay additional property taxes to support these salaries. Everyone is going to feel pain in the pocketbook. The lower salary does not justify them being immune to the pain.
gerry larrivee March 13, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Pay peanuts; get monkeys.
brian dupont March 13, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Maybe the teachers should also be so agreeable... hmmmm!
Wil Cromartie March 13, 2012 at 07:37 PM
The pay cuts should start from the top and work down to the bottom. The big savings starts at the administration level and all the extra help meaning OA'S 1,2, and 3's to do one job! I'm chimming in from Washington we do have this same problem here. Wish all well and keep up the fight!
Rob T March 13, 2012 at 08:44 PM
The teachers did agree to pay freezes and increased health care costs... a little research before posting might be a good idea brian
Melanie Scalera March 14, 2012 at 06:05 AM
OR the loser family and the Brown douche could have shut their mouths or MOVED if they did not like it. Stupid mamalukes.
elena May 01, 2012 at 11:38 PM
you know what i am a wife of a Custodian who was at step 1 makeing 14.23 a hour now cause of the pay cut he works for 12.05 a hour we are married with 2 kids that need things i understand it happeans to all everywere but to cut money from people who all ready made nothing as it is sucks cause were are the big fish up fed hill eating steak 3 times a week they do not give a shit my family hast to pay because cranston payed out big money to fight a bitch over the word amen on a fucken pray banner so the city fought and lost. The pay cuts should start from the top and work down to the bottom do you have any idea what its like working 40 hour a week for 12.05 a hr DO YOU REALLY WITH TO FUCKEN KIDS AT HOME THAT NEED TO BE FED AND HAVE CLOTHING DO YOU no you do not we get after all the cuts and med copays to dr and taxes we take home 515 every 2 weeks come on fuck the cranston school dept bull shit wile peter n drives a bmw fuck you fuck you fuck you
Joe The Plumber May 02, 2012 at 12:10 AM
I hear your pain Elena. It sucks. The administration,the teachers and worst of all the retired teachers get fat while the people who clean up, feed the kids and drive them home all get shafted. You are right. We should start at the top.
mcam May 02, 2012 at 07:57 AM
Remember the school committee members who bargained with the custodians union, and campaign hard against them. The entire thing looked like a mafia shake down to me. Rumor has it, administrators took a raise too!!! How pathetic!!!

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