The first step in outsourcing about 190 Rockford School District maintenance workers passes.
Tuesday night the Rockford School Board voted five to two in favor of outsourcing. The two board members who voted "no" are Mike Williams and Karol Hammond. Those that voted "yes" say outsourcing can save the district $3.5 million dollars.
Rockford Building and Maintenance Association, the union the custodians belong to, say they know eventually they will be fired. RBMA President Jeff Phelan says he thought they bargained in good faith. He says he thought the last offer on the table saved the district $2.5 million.
Board member David Kelley who voted “Yes” says, “We have an opportunity to address a $3.5 million from a $5 million annual deficit in the Operation Fund. We couldn’t just ignore that. There’s no where else to look.”
RBMA President Jeff Phelan says this isn’t about numbers and savings anymore. Phelan says this is about getting rid of the union. He tells 23 News, “We are the first ones and be prepared, it’s going to come hard and fast with the management we have.”
The next step, Superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson will start to negotiate a contract with SBM Maintenance. SBM is the company the district has chosen to outsource the positions through. That contract will have to come before the board for a final vote. If the board takes a majority “Yes” vote than at that time it will mean 190 custodians are out of a job.