PLAINFIELD – Representatives for the Plainfield Association of Support Staff raised the possibility of litigation if Plainfield School District 202 officials accepted one of the bids they’ve received that would outsource custodial services.
At Monday’s public hearing, Ann Bachman-McIntosh, IEA UniServ director and PASS representative, said after an analysis was done of the bids District 202 received for custodial services, it appeared the solicitation of the bids, the bids themselves and the district’s cost comparisons fail to comply with Illinois School Code requirements.
“We believe even with the limited information that was provided to the union that the district violates the requirement of the law,” she said.
Mark Michaels, a retired UniServ director, presented his analysis of the bids to the board that he argued showed the district costs will be lower than the custodial service bids once they are made to comply with the school code.
Michaels posed three choices to the board going forward and one of them was litigation.
“No. 1, the district can accept one of the bids and likely face extensive litigation concerning the legality of the current bidding process,” he said.
Michaels said the two other choices included rebidding custodial services in accordance with school code requirements or negotiate cost savings with the current custodial staff through the PASS negotiating team.
Since district officials announced in February they were considering outsourcing custodians, PASS has criticized the proposal and rallied against it.
Board President Michelle Smith gave a statement before Monday’s public hearing, saying even though the board does not typically comment on specific discussions at the bargaining table, PASS has done so on its website and its “characterization of events warrants clarification.”
She said although the board is not legally required to do so, it notified PASS it was considering outsourcing custodial services Feb. 11 and invited PASS to begin bargaining as soon as possible but the union was not available to begin bargaining until March 22.
Between Feb. 11 and March 22, when bargaining began, PASS did not develop a proposal to avoid outsourcing.
“In fact, PASS did not raise any bargaining topics related to the possible outsourcing during the first bargaining session,” Smith said.
She said PASS had all relevant information to develop a proposal or engage in discussion with the district about outsourcing but the union failed to bring a proposal to the bargaining table at the second session on April 7.
Smith highlighted other issues between the district and PASS.
“In an attempt to move discussions along, the district bargaining team is focused on developing a plan for presentation at the bargaining table that is competitive with the bids received and could avoid outsourcing,” she said.