Chariho School Parents’ Forum

September 19, 2007

“Chariho support staff contract talks deadlocked”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Editor @ 8:08 pm

From the Westerly Sun (free online view) “Chariho support staff contract talks deadlocked”



  1. The Sun article says the employees accrue 2 personal days a month. This must be an error? The article also say they get 1 1/2 days of sick time per month. Is it really just 2 personal days per year?

    Also, the article mentions that vacation is based on longevity. What are the guidelines for vacation, e.g., I get 2 weeks and will get 3 weeks after 10 years.

    Mr. Ricci conjectures that a strike will shut down the district schools. What services do these employees provide that can’t be supplemented while they are out? Shoot, even if the students have to clean up after themselves and bring lunches to school, they still can be in class, can’t they?

    I’m all for a strike…layoff the teachers while you’re at it, but it does seem odd that the support staff can shut down the schools.

    Let’s figure it out. The operating budget of the school is approx. $50,000,000 per year. With an enrollment of 3,600 students, that is annual spending of almost $14,000 per child. Let’s propose to all Chariho parents that they receive $10,000 per kid, but Chariho closes down and parents must homeschool or pay to send their children to private school.

    Those parents with special needs kids can get the extra money left over from the almost $4000 savings for every mainstream student. Estimating that we have 700 special needs students, they’ll have an additional $7,000,000 per year to take care of their requirements. That’s almost another $11,000 per student.

    No bond. No more failure. Richmond can take over the campus or let is fall into further disrepair. Maybe a private school will buy the buildings cheap and we can make some more money?

    Let’em strike.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 20, 2007 @ 12:01 am | Reply

  2. Why is it that the schools will shut down if the support staff strikes you ask? Maybe because no one else thinks the idea of cleaning up after YOUR CHILDREN would be much fun. After all they do throw food on the floor the walls in the urinal and toilets, they spit “clams” on any surface they see fit, even the bubblers!! Yes I’m a custodian for the district and I like my job. I bet if these kids did the same stuff at home that they do in school you would have a bird. Yes it’s gross but like I said I like my job, alot of the kids are good kids, but that doesn’t mean that they’re clean. Do you think a private school doesn’t have some one to clean up after the students there? Why is it that every one thinks the support staff isn’t worth a piss hole in the snow? Please enlighten me.

    Comment by toothfairy — September 21, 2007 @ 3:35 pm | Reply

  3. I think the support staff could be great. I truly mean that…I don’t know many and I’m not an expert on custodial services, but I’m sure some in the group work very hard. I happen to think lots of people are great, but it doesn’t mean I let them pick up my wallet and take whatever they want out of it…especially when they take out more for them then they leave for me.

    By the way, got any names, if my kids are among the misbehavers, let me know and you can be sure something will be done about it. The school should not tolerate slobs. And spitting “clams” is not sloppiness, and is delinquency and should be dealt with accordingly.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 21, 2007 @ 3:55 pm | Reply

  4. To give you an idea of what I am talking about in regard to salary and benefits, I found the following on Rhode Island Unemployment website:

    PHOENIX PROPERTY MGMT. CUSTODIAL: Part-time. 20 hours a week (Monday – Friday, 4 hours daily). General cleaning duties. Related experience preferred. $9 an hour. Apply in person weekdays 9 am – 3 pm at Matthew XXV Apartments, 359 Greenwich Ave., Warwick…”

    Now I couldn’t find the starting pay for custodians within Chariho, but I do see maintenance starts off at $15.29/hour. That’s a far cry from $9/hour. Plus, I highly doubt the benefits offered to non-government/union custodian are anywhere near what Chariho custodians receive.

    If others want to step forward, with their job titles, I’m willing to compare pay and benefits in the private sector for your field. Want to take the challenge? Let’s do it this way, I’ll do the research and then you give up your current salary and benefits in exchange for the prevailing salary and benefits in the private sector. Wanna make a deal?

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 21, 2007 @ 4:18 pm | Reply

  5. When I started at Chariho, I started at 6 or 7 an hour. New people now are starting at 10 an hour. Now some one who has been there for 7 or 8 years is making the SAME as some one who has been there for 18 years. Do you agree with that? I don’t want to take anything from any one that I don’t deserve. I know of some custodians that collect a pay check to stand around and gossip while I run circles around them and that pisses me off (as a custodian). I totally agree with you as a tax payer about how high the taxes are BUT the money they want (which increases every year) is suppose to include our raise, well what are they doing with it this year? They certainly don’t want to give it to us. I looked online and in Westerly the custodians START at $15.84 which has got me thinking that maybe I should go to Westerly and apply. But like I said I really do like my job and I do my work with pride. I do a very good job and I am not trying to pat myself on the back. I care about what my work looks like when I am done. But I mean think about it we have to worry about diseases, I think if any group or people are intitled to full paid benefits, it should be the custodians due to what we have to deal with. Kids spitting and bleeding. Which do you think the school should want to pay for, full insurance or workers compensation? If we have the insurance to treat what ever we catch from some “sick” kid, we wouldn’t end up being out on workers comp because we can’t afford Dr. visits or meds to cure what we may catch. I don’t know the names of the kids that do the gross things I mentioned earlier. I do know that when they do it they laugh and say “let the janitor get it, it’s their job” well yes it is my job. If kids were not sooo piggish you wouldn’t need a custodian. It’s because of these kids that we are here.

    Comment by toothfairy — September 21, 2007 @ 5:59 pm | Reply

  6. Most of the problems you describe are the result of a union job. If your description of your work ethic is honest, then in the private sector you would be rewarded for performing above and beyond reasonable expectations.

    Of course, in the real world, your indolent colleagues would be summarily fired, so that is why they are well suited for government/union work and you are not.

    In my private sector company, many service personnel have moved up the blue collar ranks by virtue of their hard work. Most hard working employees have advanced in responsibilities and salary. They have proven themselves and they earned advancement.

    Unfortunatley for you, you sound like a go-getter who got sucked into the government/union early in your career. Moving to Westerly won’t help because you’ll still be surrounded by slackers and frustrations will remain.

    I suggest you get out of government and into a position where your attitude and performance will be recgonized and rewarded. Stay away from government and unions. You still could have a very bright future!

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 21, 2007 @ 6:37 pm | Reply

  7. toothfairy,

    I appreciate your input, but please use accurate info (that is why I post all the info so we can talk using facts and not rhetoric). The support personnel contract is located here

    The starting wage for custodians is $12, not 10.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 21, 2007 @ 7:01 pm | Reply

  8. I am accurate about what I do and what I see. Ok so I was wrong about starting pay they get twice as much as I did when I started and still don’t do anything. Unfortunatly like I said befor I like my job believe it or not. I can’t see my self going any where else. I have thought about taking classes for an aids position. Hell by the sounds of it they’ll be getting paid over the summer and not have to work.

    Comment by toothfairy — September 21, 2007 @ 7:19 pm | Reply

  9. If someone is being paid for not working, I would like to know the details on that.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 21, 2007 @ 7:36 pm | Reply

  10. Unfortunatly I can not rat on my co-workers. If People would open their eyes and look at what is going on right in front of them they would see it. I guess they just choose not to. I goes on right in front of their faces but they still ignore it. I will tell you this it is during the day.

    Comment by toothfairy — September 21, 2007 @ 8:20 pm | Reply

  11. If this kind of slacking goes on and I’m sure it does, then it is the supervisors responsibility and perhaps disciplinary actions should be taken against that person. If the supervisor doesn’t do their job, then they should be fired.

    Also, aren’t the corridors and areas of the school supervised, or do people turn a blind eye when a child performs such disgusting acts? After all, these are adolescents. I remember the spitballs, food and forks in places they didn’t belong. But, to these kids, its funny. Therefore, the adults need to stand up and do what’s right.

    I thank the toothfairy for his/her remarks. I’m sure you deserve every dime you get. Some day the slackers will get their due. As I’ve seen from my own experience, it doesn’t always occur quickly enough. Thanks for doing your part in keeping our kids safe and healthy. Shame on the others.

    Perhaps they should look at their jobs from a different perspective. They are great examples of what these kids can grow up to be. On one hand, you have the toothfairy, hard-working, doing a job that at times can be disgusting. On the other hand, you have the slackers, teaching our kids to just sit back and let someone else do their dirty work. And when you do that, you get a reward, the paycheck. By the way, this is stealing. So, this is another life’s lesson that the slackers are teaching our youngsters, to steal from the taxpayers. Also, it is lying because they are receiving a paycheck for work they are not doing, and they are leading people to believe that they are doing the work.

    Thanks again toothfairy for being a good example for our children.

    Comment by Lois Buck — September 21, 2007 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

  12. I feel badly that Toothfairy is unwilling to give the private sector a try. This is unfortunate because based on his portrayal of his work ethic, in the long run he would make out very well working for a private employer.

    All that aside, he has chosen his career path and shouldn’t expect us pay above and beyond what the market will bear. As it is, we are likely providing benefits and pay well above what a custodian could expect to get in the real world.

    On top of that, according to Toothfairy, some custodians don’t pull their weight. So now we are paying custodians more than market value and we are getting less than market value in return. Nice, huh?

    I have a neighbor who is a school custodian (he works for another school system). This guy works three jobs, and he appears to be a workaholic. He too complains about his union colleagues who “game the system”. Like Toothfairy, he complains but is loyal to his union even though he personally gets less respect because of the union.

    I suspect that if custodians at Chariho put forth an honest day’s work we would function fine with less of them. With fewer custodians, we could afford to be more generous with the remaining staff. In fact, this is how it works in the private sector. More productivity equals higher pay.

    Sadly, modern day unions often exist to protect the slackers and incompetent. Workers with any motivation end up paying the price for the protection unions offer to subpar performers. That’s the way it is, so live with it, or do something about it, but don’t be asking for raises for a job poorly done.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 21, 2007 @ 9:59 pm | Reply

  13. I think I responded to this link over at

    Sorry, cyber-chat confusion.

    Regardless, It is hard to speak out, I don’t doubt it. Normally, the good workers are rewarded and sometimes an old boss becomes the new subordinate. Call it Darwin in the workplace. Eventually, hard work is paid off. Exxon CEO started in the fields.

    And the sad part is – believe it or not – the “bad” worker suffers too. The ineffective employee would be better served in another capacity. They just haven’t found their niche.

    Take this as an example – a teacher can’t handle being around kids – germ phobia. So they have her working in no-contact type jobs. Total make-busy work. Everybody working there knows – but the school board knows it can’t fire someone because of his or her “disability.” That person has simply missed her calling – and she will probably never take the risks to find it.

    This is one of the milder examples – see more here to start – then search “rubber rooms public schools” –

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 21, 2007 @ 9:59 pm | Reply

  14. John Stossel does a great job exposing government corruption. Early in his journalism career he took on big business, but then came to realize that government dwarfs business when it comes to screwing over the consumer. He took on the public school system last year, and the “rubber room” was part of his show. His 20/20 special was called “Stupid in America” and the show can be read and/or viewed here:

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 21, 2007 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

  15. I tried to post this already and it didn’t show up. Sorry if it appears twice.

    For a great show on the sorry state of public education, read the transcript or watch the 20/20 John Stossel program titled “Stupid in America”. You can find both the transcript and program here:

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 21, 2007 @ 10:23 pm | Reply

  16. It would be fairly easy to find the slackers. Administration just has to keep their eyes open WIDE.

    Comment by toothfairy — September 22, 2007 @ 9:19 am | Reply

  17. Did you read Mr. Felkner’s post where the process of firing a teacher in New York is diagrammed? Your union protects the slackers and puts administrators throught he wringer if they dare try to get rid of a slacker.

    I’m not fan of the hordes of administrators we have at Chariho. We certainly have many more then we reasonably need, but I don’t hold them responsible for employees getting away with slacking. The union is to blame.

    You are a union member. You don’t have to speak in public about the issue, but you certainly can push for your union to negotiate rules that make it easier to fire slackers. Until the union stops protecting slackers, and as long as you are a member of the union, then you have nobody to blame but yourself and your union.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 22, 2007 @ 12:15 pm | Reply

  18. So tell me, when is the last time you gave up everything to give up some dead beats in your union for no reason? Just to have them be protected for not doing thier job!! I can’t even blame the union because the ones that see what they want to see are the administraitors. They are the people who would have the last say, but they don’t say anything.

    Comment by toothfairy — October 19, 2007 @ 10:01 pm | Reply

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