Custodial employees in the Bayport-Blue Point School District want to get back to the contract negotiating table and appeared for the second time at a board of education meeting to express their unhappiness about stalled negotiations.
About a dozen members of CSEA Suffolk Educational Local 870, which has been working under an extended contract that expired in June, 2011, sat at the back of the high school cafeteria meeting Tuesday night, with one worker addressing the board during the public comment session of the monthly regular meeting.
“We are extremely underpaid, we need money,” the custodial employee told the five board members in attendance. Trustees Diane D’Angelo and Molly Licalzi, were not at the meeting due to illness, according to BOE President James March.
“We have so much to offer this district and the average pay is about $44,000. That’s an embarrassment. Half of us have to work second jobs to support our families,” said the employee, noting he works from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the district and then a part-time job every day from 2:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
“It’s sad that we haven’t had any comment from the board since we were here last,” another union member told Patch.
“Where is the sign of appreciation for the custodial workers?” he asked, noting that district administrators have publicly noted the money custodial workers have saved the district by handling projects and special projects in-house instead of contracting the work.
As Patch reported on October 24, union leadership said former Superintendent Anthony Annuziato was intent on completing the contract agreement before he left to work at another district in the summer. But there has been no movement to the negotiating table since the last meeting with Annuziato in early summer and the service time of former interim superintendent Neil Lederer.
The district's newly appointed school chief, Dr. Vincent Butera, formally started his job December 3.
The current custodial contract, approved in July, 2007, is available for viewing and downloading on the district's website.
Union President John Marcinek told Patch the department is down a few workers and that initial negotiations involved taking a one-year pay freeze.
Also at issue is the oversight of the custodial department as Plant Facilities Administrator Gerard Doroski formally retired this summer.
In late November the BOE quietely approved rehiring Doroski back for the same role on a per diem basis at $400 a day, not to exceed $30,000 in the calendar school year for the period of November 13, 2012 to no later than June 30, 2013.
“I heard they rehired him but that’s it. We haven’t seen him,” Marcinek told Patch before the board meeting Tuesday.
“They have money to rehire him back but no money to give us,” another custodial worker stated to Patch.
Last week Patch asked the district to provide specific information relating to Doroski’s retirement compensation package and was told to file a Freedom of Information request and is awaiting a determination from the district on that request.
In response to the custodial worker’s comments expressed Tuesday night, trustee Bill Milligan stated that “many of us do recognize the work of custodians” and that the department’s efforts have resulted in savings, recalling a project involving painting of a school parking lot in late summer.
“We do recognize that and I witnessed it and was certainly impressed,” he said.
In the past district officials have stated they will not comment on ongoing contractual operations in the media.