CSEA, the union representing non-instructional employees at the North Syracuse Central School District, is accusing district officials of retaliating against some of its workers after the union filed an out-of-title work complaint on their behalf with the state Civil Service Department.
In October, the district began forcing its Teacher Aides to wash lunchroom tables in addition to their normal daily job duties. On Nov. 7 CSEA filed an out-of-title complaint with Civil Service, which makes final determinations as to what type of work should be performed by employees in various job titles covered by state Civil Service Law. The Civil Service Department agreed with the union that the new job duty was inappropriate. In a letter dated Nov. 21 state Personnel Technician Laurie Clifton advised the District TMs Director of Human Resources, Annette Speach that washing tables is not a related function of the job for a Teacher Aide and that they should not be required to clean and wash lunchroom tables. In response, the District proposed three options to the union, all of which were detrimental to the Aides.
1. Appoint Teacher Aides as part-time Food Service Helpers for 30 minutes each day with a corresponding reduction in pay;
2. Lay off ten Teacher Aides and hire part-time Food Service Helpers to clean tables; or
3. Cut the hours of Teacher Aides in order to hire part-time Food Service Helpers.
We take this as a threat to strong-arm teacher aides into doing something that is not in the civil service job description and that TMs wrong, said CSEA Labor Relations Specialist Frank Antonucci.
Today, CSEA filed an Improper Practice Charge with the state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) claiming the District TMs proposals were made in retaliation to the union TMs complaint. The union is requesting that the responsibility for cleaning lunchroom tables be assigned to the appropriate title of Food Service Helper without harm to the Aides.