Divide and Conquer in Manitowoc School District
In the new era that Scott Walker kicked off, school districts now have a lot more power to decide, on their own, who wins and who loses.
In Manitowoc, the winners are the teachers and the losers are the janitors.
According to a recent decision by the Manitowoc Public School District, teachers are getting raises of $1,200 or more, while the custodial and maintenance employees are getting wage cuts of 10-15 percent.
“This is the result of Governor Walker’s Act 10,” says Mark DeLorme, staff representative of AFSCME’s Wisconsin Council 40. “The school district is pitting union brothers and sisters against each other.”
DeLorme said the school board, which was facing a shortfall, should have implemented a wage freeze for all employees, instead of making some of them suffer.
The wife of one of the adversely affected workers is not happy about the change, either. “This is not being done in a fair, common-sense way," Carol says. "They are really hammering away at the custodial and maintenance employees.”
DeLorme concurs. “The superintendent doesn’t want these jobs to be career jobs,” he says. “He wants new custodians starting at $13.50 to a maximum of $15. They now start at $15.27 and max out at $21.67.”
DeLorme says “the school district is exploiting Walker’s ‘tools.’ ”
Carol is worried about her husband losing his job. “Thanks, Walker, for taking bargaining rights away from everyday workers,” she says. “That really helps us all, doesn’t it?”
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Obama Strikes Populist Chord on Taxes."
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter
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