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Potential Union Strike May Halt Start of School

According to school superintendent, a possible strike by the Educational Support Professionals may halt the start of school.

North Kingstown students may not be heading back to classrooms this Tuesday. School Superintendent Phil Auger is asking parents to consider contingency plans if the North Kingstown Educational Support Professionals go on strike on Tuesday – the scheduled start of the 2012-13 academic year – .

The school department and the ESP union are still negotiating a contract, which has been ongoing for the past year and a half. Earlier this summer, . Twenty-six custodians were laid off by the decision – though according to . Auger says that the union wants the outsourcing decision reversed as part of its current negotiations. The union has also taken legal action against the school department in the matter.

"We feel like we have done this the appropriate way," said Auger of the process to outsource. "We feel it is a good thing for the district and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Though ESP has not directly threatened to go on strike, Auger stated that the union has indicated that striking is an option. The school department and union will be continuing negotiation talks this afternoon.

Though Auger "remains hopeful" that a strike can be avoided, he is askign parents to consider contingency plans for child care. If school is canceled for Tuesday, parents will receive notice through the schools' Connect Ed phone notification system.

Govstench August 28, 2012 at 12:38 PM
The ESP or any public union could care less about the public. They will do what they want to get what they want! The school department should fire them all and starting hiring replacements right away, if their contract has expired. That was done in EP. Time to get tough with these people.
Dark star August 28, 2012 at 12:49 PM
@melissa, which union do you belong to and in which city? You are another union hack trying to cover for the ineptitude of the NKESP representation and that filthy dirty NEA rep/negotiator LIEdecker by making assertions about the "other side". The sooner you realize the union gravy train is coming to a halt right here in lil' ol' NK, the better off the entire town will be. Now, go back to your cushy union job in what ever town you came from.
NK WATCH August 28, 2012 at 12:54 PM
8:52 am on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 The union intentionally waited until high school children were already picked up by school buses before they called the strike. buses had to turn around and drop kids back off at there bus stops. this is the same union that says they are about the kids and protecting the Health and safety of kids. Predictably and ironically they use the kids as pawns and jeopardize their safety and waiting for them to get on those buses before they called their strike. These scumbags should all be fired!
P O V August 28, 2012 at 12:54 PM
To Steve Decollibus : On your comment: Factually, you are wrong... on your own street, lawn service, termite service, cleaning service, trash service and plowing services do the jobs that a homeowner won't do. Our economy is based on business acumen, not union protest. Let's not bankrupt our school system by switching our education priorities to placating the whims of the service unions. If an outsourced janitorial service proves to be adequate, I hope you'll revisit your remarks. Let's evaluate the "outsourced" value of this janitorial service a year from now before you make a rash judgement. The union credibility was lost when they used dues to put out that inflammatory, threatening postcard suggesting that the outsourced service would hire rapists. Taxpayers who don't have children in the school system are expecting student achievement for their dollar investments...and a prudent fiscal budget. That rapist postcard was a big mistake. An honest Union should send out information showing the DOLLAR comparison of Union pay/ benefits vs. Outsourced. That's the way to convince the public...though I'm guessing that in this case, the DOLLARS would not be in the Union's favor. STUDENTS FIRST
NK WATCH August 28, 2012 at 01:10 PM
THE UNION WAITED UNTIL THE BUSES PICKED UP YOUR KIDS BEFORE THEY CALLED A STRIKE! THE BUSES HAD TO TURN AROUND AND TAKE KIDS HOME! THEY USED YOUR KIDS AS PAWNS! PARENTS AND TAXPAYERS NEED TO GET SOME GUTS AND COME OUT TO TONIGHTS MEETING AND STAND UP TO THE UNION FOR WHAT THEY DID TO YOUR KIDS!!!! IT'S TIME TO GET SOME GUTS PEOPLE AND STOP COWERING FROM THE UNIONS! THE UNION TIMED IT THIS WAY TO MAXIMIZE THE DISRUPTION OF PARENTS AND CHILDREN, WAKE UP PEOPLE!
MeanE August 28, 2012 at 01:21 PM
This has gotten ugly and personal on both sides! Is it possible for these negotiations to be broadcast live for all to see? I want to know who the liars are! As each side has a completely different story to tell. I would like to see the SC & the union in a room with cameras & audio so that we can all see what is happening. I honestly don't trust either of them at this point! Transparency is needed NOW!
MeanE August 28, 2012 at 01:25 PM
STOP SHOUTING! LOL Stop trying to incite more crap! HS kids went on a Bus ride, big whoop! It wasn't kindergarteners. Nobody was harmed by riding the bus. It is gonna be a fun night in the arena! Something tells me that it won't last long. Just another example of political BS by all involved.
MeanE August 28, 2012 at 01:27 PM
P O V - I agree with you that the postcard was a big mistake and that factual numbers would have been a much better tactic on their part.
Anonymous August 28, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Try pulling your head out of the depths of where the sun does not shine. The union gave the school committee and superintendant of schools notice of the impending strike over a week in advance. Focus your disleasure on them, they are the ones who waited until the last minute to call off school!! Now for arguments sake lets say that you actually have a job. And once you get off of patch and stop complaining, you show up to work and your boss tells you that you will have to do the same job for several dollars less per hour and oh by the way, your health benefits are gone too. How would you feel? Or how about your job is going to be outsourced and you hit the unemployment line. Why don't you try and support the teachers and staff that actually care about your child and preasure your elected officials (school committee) into settling this.
Govstench August 28, 2012 at 01:53 PM
@MeanE - The unions don't want these negotiations broadcast as they don't want the taxpayers to see what goes on behind the scenes. They have never been for transparency!! The unions are pressing their demands and they could care less about the taxpayers or the students for that matter....i.e., the bus tour this morning. I can only imagine what the parents are doing right now - probably calling out of work to sit for their kids. Isnt' that nice! The administration should be in court this morning for a back to work order. If these people don't report to work tomorrow, fire them. Period! If the School Committee goes forward with their meeting tonight, there should be a police presence to keep the union hacks under control. If they don't, clear the room and arrest those who are disorderly. The town runs the schools, not the unions!
NKGOP Watch August 28, 2012 at 02:14 PM
AS a taxpayer am tired of paying above market taxes to pay above market wages to people who hold kids hostage so they can keep taking more than market compensation! This was timed and someone in the union should be ARRESTED! - Thank you school committee for not cutting more kids programs which they really enjoy and benefit from and went after overcompensation instead. Even in the new deal with GCA these thankless greedy union people were given preferential hiring, and preferential pay and look how they reply... by damaging the schools, parents, kids and community! Fire them all now.
NK Taxpayer, too August 28, 2012 at 02:21 PM
@ POV or Lynda, Larry, Dick, or John which ever SC member you are: Hiring a company that has had proven legal actions taken against them for hiring felons is NOT in the best interest of our children or school employees in regards to their safety. So stop trying to defend the SC’s very bad decision to outsource! NORTH KINGSTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE NSBA # ADD POLICY MANUAL SAFE SCHOOLS POLICY Definitions: A safe school provides a climate where students, staff and community members in the school system are free from harm and the physical environment is well maintained. Those postcards that were sent weren’t suggesting anything, they were FACTS!
NKGOP Watch August 28, 2012 at 02:39 PM
oh here we go with that again? EVERY major national employer gets the occasional bad apple. if those felons were getting away with it we wouldnt be discussing it now. I looked this up and there is NO PATTERN. Since the esp "cares so much" about the kids then why arent they all working today instead of turning thousands of kids lives inside out? - because it's not about the kids and it never was. congrats you win the Doug Roth Award for usury!
Dark star August 28, 2012 at 02:57 PM
GCA employs over 30,000 people. The hiring mistakes amount to less than 1% of total hires. pretty good record if you ask me.
taxpayer thug August 28, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Tired of NK antics could you provide your employer, I would like to offer them savings. I will work for them for half of your income and no health care. I think they will hire me.
NK Parent August 28, 2012 at 03:14 PM
It's just as much a "fact" that the ESP allows unstable bombers into our school system. In fact, if you look at the statistics GCA has a much BETTER hiring record than our very own ESP union.
North Kingstown Student August 28, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Melissa, if you would please reread my post and take note to the face that I stated: "The idea to strike, to stop working in protest, originated IN THIS COUNTRY with African slaves participating in work slow downs." I apologize for the capitalization, there doesn't seem to be any way to italicize. I also apologize if you misunderstood my meaning; I am referring to the origination of strikes that took place in the United States, not the definitive origination of the strike in all of history. Regardless, you simply empower my point. Romans and Egyptians both utilized slave labor. And I would like to respectfully disagree with you, for I believe I am indeed self motivated and mature enough to understand unfair labor practice. I do not, though, view this as unfair labor practice. As I have already pointed out, I sympathize with these men and women. I would not go as far as to label this as unfair labor practice. After the relentless budget difficulties that were so hotly debated last year, I think it is safe to say the School Department is not as financially well-off as it would like or hope to be. For example: when we return to school, hopefully tomorrow, we will not receive planners. The school was forced to eliminate e-portfolio as a graduation requirement. North Kingstown Hockey's funding was completely cut and they must support themselves. So I would not call putting these workers into a situation in which their pay is cut unfair. I would simply call it unfortunate.
NK Parent August 28, 2012 at 03:20 PM
LOL. NK HS Student: 1. ESP Union: 0
Dark star August 28, 2012 at 03:24 PM
NK T t, please share with us the, as you say, "bullying tactics and despicable bargaining practices" used by the SC. Where you in the room? Something tells me you are a union member or sympathizer spreading more lies and half-truths. Please give examples and educate us all.
P O V August 28, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Union North Kingstown Janitors: About some of the ESP union members: How about the one who wrote on the walls that there was going to be a bomb explosion in one of our schools, Or the bus driver, who flunked a drug test but the union said that she promised not to do it again. Or the Union guy who left his position to go home during a snow storm to shovel his driveway. Or the School UNION employee who refused to stop smoking on school grounds and was found with his pants down in the janitors closet. Hypocritically, the union sends out a postcard suggesting that it will be the GCA acting inappropriately.
NK Taxpayer, too August 28, 2012 at 03:35 PM
@NKPARENT NK ESP does not hire people; the School committee approves all hires. You are a very angry and insulting person. The “NK” custodians are loyal and hard working employees who did many things off the clock for our kids. GCA is A FOR PROFIT, OUT OF STATE COMPANY WITH A PROVEN TERRIBLE HIRING HISTORY. Key word "PROVEN". I believe you are a SC member or are connected with them in some way. I believe if you have children they are probably grown and you don’t give a fig about the safety and well-being of the children in this town.
P O V August 28, 2012 at 03:40 PM
How foolishly ridiculous to suggest that those of us who have put our kids through the school system YEARS AGO do not care a fig about kids today. Your remarks are way off base and no credit to the ESP or to OUR children. Yes, I'm offended by your insensitive nonsense.
NK Parent August 28, 2012 at 03:47 PM
GCAs hiring record is only"proven" in the same way that the previous janitorial staff contained potential bombers and the occasional problem employee. Your little list of bad GCA employees is and will forever remain insignificant to a company of GCAs size. By your illogical standards EVERY SINGLE COMPANY IN AMERICA would have a terrible hiring history. In fact, our very own SC has a far worse hiring history where it concerns the custodial staff. You're free to believe whatever you want. As I've repeated multiple times, I was AGAINST the firing of the custodial staff and the SC decision to hire GCA. That said, I've been APPALLED by the actions of the ESP in response to this decision. From the fear-mongering "rape" postcard and now to the culmination of ESP taking it out on our kids and their parents. Completely shameful.
LiveLaughLove August 28, 2012 at 04:11 PM
"melissa," did you really just call a student ignorant? I sincerely hope you are not a paraprofessional, or in any way associated with the NK School Department.
photoman67 August 28, 2012 at 07:52 PM
So POV, rather than trying to kill unions because "Most Americans work at the whim of our employers..." but maybe that means we need more, not less, unions.
Glad to be out of nk August 30, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Support staff do a lot more than people as a parent with two children with disabilities they would not have been able to go to school. Their pay is public look it up it is not much. Kids need clean schools as well. Where my children lived there were many support staff as our neighbors none off them would strike if they didn't feel they needed to. Maybe money could have been saved in other ways like avoiding recent lawsuits and reconfiguring administrator costs and salaries. This did not just come out of the blue and could have been dealt with better
Richard Welch August 30, 2012 at 11:22 PM
I find it interesting that the union message is that GCA intentionally hires the wrost that society has to offer...this is just fear mongering by them...ask the ESP people about the janitor that threatened to blow up DMS or the one that was smoking on school property when told not to and was also found in a closet with his pants down, then there is the bus driver that tested positive for drugs and the union said that she promised not to do it again...yea right. Look, pay attention here, when the church can't get it's personnel right, when the police department has a dispatcher that took funds from the police union why would you think that GCA might with over 19,000 employees might not get a few bad apples? Our GCA contractor is doing everything possible to make sure that our former custodians and future hires pass very strict investagation. Wake up to the reality of the society that we live in.
NK Taxpayer, too August 31, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Hey, fellow bloggers, now we know who POV is. Mr. Welch , I so glad you want to blog. Remember this: I'm a single mother with two jobs. Why should I vote for you? I care that you have to work two jobs to try to make ends meet. Any changes in the cost of living need to take you into account Pushing people onto the public assistance roles is not what I would be trying to do but rather training you to be able to hold down one good paying job with benefits so that you could spend more quality time with your family. Mr. Welch, Didn’t you and the 4 SC members that voted yes on June 25th put most of NKESP in poverty? Now many of them (who use to be tax payers) are receiving public assistance from the state taxpayers! http://northkingstown.patch.com/articles/meet-the-candidates-richard-welch-house-of-representatives-district-32 Mr. Welch, since you have been elected to the SC you major goal was to break the unions. You’re a self-serving hypocrite! Who’s next? The firefighters. If you ever get elected to the TC. BIG IF!!!!!!! PS How’s your two day a week job @ the General Assembly? Aren’t your health benefits pay for by the state taxpayers?
NK Taxpayer, too August 31, 2012 at 12:29 AM
By the way, Mr. Welch, everything bad written about GCA, is true. Unlike the SC, the NKESP has provided documentation to prove all information about this despicable company. GCA, the company that the SC gave complete power to hire people that will be in the school buildings with our children. There are only 15 "NK" custodians left and more are planning to leave very soon. They simply can not work for this disgusting company who treats their employees like farm animals. That a fact! Here's the truth- you do not care about the safety of the town's children or school employees!!!! Guess what? I voted for you, fool that I was. I now have no respect for you or the other 4 SC members, including Dr. Auger.
Dark star August 31, 2012 at 12:38 AM
You union pukes sound like a broken record. Please tell the whole story; 30,000 employees. http://www.gcaservices.com/DefaultContent.aspx?id=65b7fd4d-9418-42eb-bbc6-8f199077f16d&idLanguage=3356e303-c6da-4338-b89c-1a847e36d282 Your examples amount to less than one half of one percent of total hires. Go have coffee and pie with mudge and benson. The three of you will get along fine repeating your half-truths to each other.

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