Saturday, August 11, 2012

WRONGSIZING: Respecting Workers, Keeping Kids Safe

By smf for 4LAKids News

11 August 2012 :: LAUSD has craftspeople in the building trades on the payroll: carpenters, painters, plumbers, roofing and flooring workers, sheet metal workers; cement workers, plasterers and pavers; air conditioning folk, electricians, skip loader operators, sheet metal workers, machinists, etc. …all skilled and experienced craftspeople – hard working men and women who do the day-to-day routine maintenance and operations of the school district. They’ve paid their dues to LAUSD and to their unions.

With over a thousand schools there is plenty o’ work; with the schools getting older daily the workload increases.

As the numbers of workers are dramatically slashed.

They use words like “decimated” – but grammatically “decimated” is only a ten-percent cut. More than half of the employees in many crafts are gone in the recent Reduction in Force. Painters and Flooring specialists have collaspsed into carpentry.

If you have been at a school lately you have noticed the cutback in janitorial and custodial staff; schools are not as clean or well maintained as they have been in the past. Cleaning crews travel from school-to-school at night, the dedicated Plant Manager who did the on-site maintenance and light repair during the school day – reporting to the principal - has been replaced by a “broom operator” – if that. When the principal or a teacher needs something fixed they must issue a trouble call – and that is routed through a complex bureaucratic hierarchy and responded to when-and-if. Air conditioning not working? Graffiti on the handball wall? LAUSD will get around to it when they get around to it. Maybe the night crew will do it.

In the latest round of cost cutting 70% of the painters have been laid off. The taggers aren’t getting less prolific and the paint hasn’t gotten any better – but the painters have gotten fewer and father between.

Properly maintained the acres of LAUSD linoleum floors that contain asbestos are perfectly safe. Otherwise they are not.

With the elimination of these jobs it looks suspiciously like LAUSD intends to – or is- outsourcing the work to outside contractors.

If they are it is:

1. Anti-labor. A violation of the law, union contracts and the respect due to loyal and hardworking employees – who have families and house payments and mouths to feed.

2. False economy. A penny wise and pound foolish move that will cost much much more in years to come. LAUSD craftpeople’s wages are less than contract labor – and contractors mark-up their materials and make a profit!

3. Endangering children. LAUSD employees are vetted and trained to work around children – with the message embedded: Work safely and carefully around students. LAUSD workers understand that they work for the District – but their clients and first concern are students. Nothing against Bob, but Bob the Carpenter from XYZ Contracting works for XYZ – his job is to get the job done in 4.5 hours because that’s what it says on the contract. Bob thinks his TB test is current – he checked that box on the form. And did the Personnel Commission check to see if Bob is on the registry of sex offenders? No, they did not.

You will be hearing more about this in the near future – hopefully not in headlines about children who are hurt or endangered.

The effected and laid off employees have mounted a website/blog to share information and inform the public. Their spelling and grammar could be better, but it’s here:


-- this gentlemen working at a schoolsite told a RIFed LAUSD painter he “works for the fire alarm company”

Does he?

1 comment:

Metal Fusing Tech. said...

I am one of the crafts persons that were recently laid off. You can’t compare the level of commitment we give to the safety of the children and school staff while performing our task. Hopefully L.A.U.S.D. will realize that the children’s safety shouldn’t be compromised.