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The spirit of Anthony Borrelli. Park Ridge board members screw their employees.

February 26, 2013

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Parents and teachers pack the gym at Field School in Park Ridge, supporting the support staff.

When the school year started I ran a couple of posts about the Park Ridge foot doctor, Anthony Borrelli. Borrelli got elected to the District 64 school board in a low turn-out election. He barely eked out a win over an incumbent.

Borrelli ran on a platform of no pay raises for the people who care for and teach Park Ridge kids.

It now appears that the Scrooge-like spirit of Park Ridge foot doctor Anthony H. Borrelli has taken over the board made up of John Heyde,  Scott Zimmerman,  Eric UhligDan CollinsPat Fioretto and Sharon Lawson.

When the Park Ridge Education Association, which represents the teachers in District 64, finally settled on their contract with 2% increase over step, it was the longest negotiation since  the teachers went on strike in 2003.

Normally, the Park Ridge Teacher Assistant Association, also an IEA affiliate which represents the district’s paraprofessionals, then are offered a contract similar in percentages to the PREA.

Not this year. Even with a mediator, there has been no settlement and the paraprofessionals have been working without a contract since August.

Meanwhile the non-union employees – secretaries, health assistants and custodians have had no contract discussions since January.

Then with a one week notice they were given a take-it-or-leave-it offer that took back accumulated sick days and demanded a step freeze.

The gym in Park Ridge’s Field school was packed last night with red-shirt supporters of both the PRTTA and the non-union employees last night. Parent and teachers spoke during the usually pro-forma public comment section of the board meeting for more than 90 minutes.

Standing ovations greeted testimony by employees, parents and teachers.

To their credit, speakers focused on the contributions these employees make to Park Ridge’s high quality schools.

None made mention of the 40% budget surplus the district is running.

It kept running through my mind, however.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Louella permalink
    February 26, 2013 12:08 pm

    Fred, how can the D64 BOE take back sick days that were already earned under previous contracts? Can’t the Board be sued for breach of contract? I think the paras would prefer to settle the contract fairly without a lawsuit, but it seems like this lowlife move would be akin to telling them that they have to give back salary earned previously. These scumbags will try anything.

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      February 26, 2013 12:11 pm

      I don’t know the details of the bargaining between the paras and the board since that is still in progress. The sick day accumulation issue was between the non-union secretaries, health assistants and custodians. The nature of the contract rules, whether there can be give-backs on accumulated sick days is not known to me. I was told this morning that the board meeting went until 12:30 and the board backed off the step freeze.

  2. anonymous permalink
    February 26, 2013 1:26 pm

    The D64 BOE is doing to their employees the same thing Nekritz and Biss want to do to the rest of us..take away already earned benefits.

    A precedent was already set by the D64 BOE itself by giving the benefit of sick day accumulation in previous employment agreements to its employees. The employees affected should sue and also file a complaint with the Illinois Labor Relation Board.

    Two things all BOEs abhor are setting a precedent and being sued. The D64 BOE by already doing the former may very well get the latter too.

  3. February 27, 2013 8:44 am

    Good afternoon, Fred. I always have enjoyed reading your posts. I thought , overall, you have been fair with your recitation of facts. Indeed, on most issues I agree with you. However, I think you missed some important facts on this one. You really should talk to the groups who have been impacted by the lowlife BOE. Or, perhaps you can review the video which should be posted on the District’s website shortly. I also would be willing to talk to you or anyone else who might care enough to learn the facts. Most of the individuals who stood in solidarity and spoke (eloquently) to the Board last night, chose to leave before the BOE addressed the matter. You know how to get in touch with me if you wish. I normally do not post comments on blogs, I prefer talking to people–like you and I have done in the past. However, since I am now being accused of being one of those “scumbags,” as referred to by one of your friends, I felt compelled to offer another version of the facts. The PRTAA and the BOE have not even had a mediation session with the FMCS Mediator. Our first session is set for Friday, March 8, 2013. Presumably, you do not know what has been exchanged during the bargaining sessions–nor is it any of your business, at this point. It would be inappropriate for the BOE (or the PRTAA) to discuss the specific terms of any negotiation sessions at this point. You yourself were a lead negotiator and must recognize the importance of these sessions. As to what happened when the BOE did address the two employee groups last night, rather than offer my version of the facts, please review the video for yourself.

    Oh, and by the way, when the parties involved in the PREA negotiations finally arrived at a new CBA, the PREA membership overwhelmingly ratified the 4-year Agreement. They must have thought it was “fair.” The next time you speak with some of your old colleagues from the PREA negotiating team (most of whom I would assume would not refer to the Board negotiators as “scrooges”), please confirm with them that part of the reason the negotiations went so long this time, in part, had to do with conflicts in schedules. I said it before and I will say it again–collective bargaining works, it is not perfect, but it works. You forgot to inform the readers of your blog that when the BOE adopted the CBA in front of another standing-room only audience, the room erupted with applause and approval by the PREA membership. How quickly we seem to forget–collective bargaining has worked for the PREA and for the BOE.

    As you know, I will soon be off the BOE in May of this year. My 4-year term will expire. I would like to think that I have contributed something positive to the District and community in which I live and have raised my family–despite the misinformation currently being circulated. If not, I am sure there will be a new set of “scrooges” waiting to take my place.

    All the best, Pat Fioretto

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