By: Katy Barth
The Lansing Board of Education recently passed a contract without raises for educational secretaries for the next three years.
The board voted 6-1 for the five-year Lansing Association of Educational Secretaries contract on Wednesday, March 27.
“It’s all about salary and concessions,” said Angela Mathews, head of human resources. “It means they can’t get a raise.”
The secretarial staff voted to accept the contract 37-3. Armbuster said she thinks everyone involved with the school district has the best interest in the district and keeps it solvent.
The Lansing Association of Educational Secretaries is a union that handles collective bargaining and negotiations to protect workers rights and their salaries.
Nicole Armbruster, the school board’s vice president, made the motion to pass this contract.
Armbruster said the contract has been discussed and bargained multiple times and wouldn’t have come to the board of education if the employees didn’t support it.
Yvonne Caamal Canul, superintendent of the Lansing School District, said the contracts that have been ratified have cut or frozen employee’s wages and eliminated positions. Others affected by contract changes include teachers, bus drivers and administrators.
“We have had very generous concessions by our bargaining groups to get our financial feet back on the ground,” said Canul.
Amy Hodgin, Lansing Board of Education trustee, said she doesn’t believe the contract is fair.
“When we do negotiations we take too much money from the secretaries and the bus drivers, which is what we did tonight,” said Hodgin.
“The district should experience economic benefits,” said Canul. “If we have more room and latitude to reward our employees we will do that.”
The school district has a deficit of $11 million to $12 million, said Robert Kolt, public relations manager of the Lansing School District.
This is beneficial to the secretarial staff because “those who will continue to work will have a job and know their salaries,” said Canul.
The Right to Work law changed a previous law that required government and school employees to be a part of a union, said Kolt. He also said this contract was the union’s way of moving forward to protect their agency shop status. An agency shop agreement makes it to where employees represented by a union must pay into the union, whether they are a union member or not. The Right to Work law doesn’t allow unions or dues paid to unions. The educational secretaries contract will allow them to remain a union and collect dues for the five years the contract is in place. Hodgin said the union of educational secretaries and clerks wouldn’t have wanted the contract if it wasn’t for Right to Work passing.
Charles Ford, board member, was the only member present to vote against passing the contract. Ford refused to comment on why he voted that way.