District 86 wants custodians to reapply for jobs
Hinsdale District 86 custodians
Frank Wright, a maintenance supervisor at Hinsdale Central High School, tells the Hinsdale High School District 86 Board his contributions include coaching the bass fishing club and teaching art students to weld. (Kimberly Fornek, Pioneer Press)
By Kimberly Fornek
Pioneer Presscontact the reporter Hinsdale
Citing high salaries, Hinsdale District 86 officials want custodians to reapply for jobs
Hinsdale High School District 86 officials are considering reorganizing their building and grounds department, causing some workers to fear future layoffs or pay cuts.
The changes are being considered as the district is in the midst of contract negotiations with the buildings and grounds employees.
About 35 employees in the department unionized last year and joined Services Employees International Union Local 73. The district and union negotiators have met three times in attempts to iron out a contract, said Domenico Maniscalco, the district’s chief human resources officer.
Maniscalco presented a restructuring plan Feb. 9 that would eliminate the supervisor title that seven employees hold. Despite the title, the supervisors do not oversee or evaluate other employees, Maniscalco said. Their salaries range from $48,000 to $80,000 a year.
“They have a heavy workload, but their job is not supervising,” Maniscalco said.
Instead of supervisors, the department would have four facility managers to cover two shifts at each school, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and from 2 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
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If the supervisors are interested in the new positions, they would have to apply for them. If all seven supervisors apply to be a facility manager, at most only four could be hired. The other three employees would be offered a lower-level job in the district, Maniscalco said. The plan is to keep the total number of employees in the department at 35.
“It’s sound in all aspects, from supervisory to evaluating to operational,” he said.
School Board members Jennifer Planson and Kay Gallo disliked the idea that the supervisors would have to apply for a new position.
“Why would an organization not want to keep its best employees?” Planson asked.
Board member Edward Corcoran said ideally the supevisors would apply for the facility manager positions, but both he and board President Richard Skoda said the department’s structure is dysfunctional.
The fact that the supervisors can apply for the new manager positions does not mean they will prevail in getting them, said Brenda Woodall, assistant division director of Service Employees International Union Local 73.
District officials do not value “the amount of institutional knowledge” their employees have, Woodall said. She is not pleased with how the district has communicated its plans to the workers.
“What we were told is there would be a restructuring and we should look on the website,” Woodall said.
Frank Wright, the maintenance supervisor at Hinsdale Central, said he does a lot more than plant maintenance at the school. He has coached the bass fishing club.
“They use my boat, my equipment,” Wright said.
He has taught art students how to weld for certain projects, he said.
“We dedicate our time to you guys, the parents and the Boosters, a lot more than you think we do,” Wright said.
Maniscalco also recommends a new position for a districtwide director be created to oversee the buildings and grounds staff at both schools, instead of having a buildings and grounds director at each high school. Patrick Hurley is the director at Hinsdale Central. Robert Adamik had the job at Hinsdale South until January, when he left to accept a position at Maine South High School in Park Ridge.
Maniscalco has proposed hiring an interim director at South through next school year. Then, in the 2016-17 school year, the building-level director positions would be eliminated, and their responsibilities taken over by the districtwide director.
If school officials do not negotiate job changes with the employees, even without a contract, the union could file an unfair labor practice charge against the district, said Adam Rosen, communications director for Local 73, which represents more than 28,000 workers in Illinois and Northwest Indiana.
For at least the past several years, when buildings and grounds employees left or retired from District 86, if they were replaced, it was with workers from GCA Services, an outside janitor and custodian staffing service, Maniscalco said. About 22 GCA employees work districtwide, he said.
It costs less to contract for those services than to pay salary and benefits to a district employee.
“We save enormously,” Maniscalco said.