Thursday, May 25, 2000

Lebanon workers may get pay boost

By Phillip Pina
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Non-teaching school workers will get a 13.2 percent pay boost over the next three years as part of new contract.

        The pact must still be approved by the Lebanon school board. The deal was ratified by members of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees Tuesday night at the high school by a 52-1 vote.

        Union members, who include custodians, cooks and student aides, will gain more pay as well as a grievance process to handle complaints with management, according to the pact. Their old contract expired at the end of August 1999.

        Sanford Holmes, a repre sentative with the school workers' union, called the deal “a good contract,” especially with the inclusion of binding arbitration to resolve grievances. The pact also includes grievance mediation in which both parties in a dispute can voluntarily resolve problems with the assistance of a federal mediator.

        What had held up the talks was a side issue to the agreements on pay and grievances.

        Bus drivers, who were part of the union before but had their jobs contracted out, were fighting a plan to return them to the union.

        Last year, the union had filed charges of unfair labor

        practices against the school board after Laidlaw Transit was hired to run the district's buses. At the time, the drivers were district employees and members of the union.

        But after working for Laidlaw, many drivers were miffed at their former union's attempt to make them school employees again.

        Many liked the pay and other benefits they enjoyed working for Laidlaw and filed their own complaints against the union.

        While that argument is still pending, the 130-member union reached a deal with school negotiators.

        A school board meeting has been called for 6 p.m. Tuesday to discuss and vote on the new contract, said Stu Long, the district's business operations director.


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