ROCKFORD–Hundreds of RPS 205 cafeteria workers, bus drivers and paraprofessionals are set to hit the picket lines Thursday for the second day of the first-ever walkout by AFSCME employees.
In total, about 900 union employees joined the strike yesterday. The move left the District 205 fleet of buses parked and hundreds of teachers without aides. Breakfast and lunch is not being prepared in the cafeterias either. The district provided Domino’s pizza for lunch yesterday.
The union, along with two others, is currently in labor talks with the district. Superintendent Dr. Ehren Jarrett said in the interim, students will be continue to be the top priority.
“We went to great lengths to make sure employees came out ahead,” he said in a letter to parents.”The district is offering more than $3.6 million in wage increases – new money – for the three unions. We’re also projecting a 6 percent increase in health care costs to the district, an additional $700,000 for these three unions. Per-employee health care costs have already increased 19 percent in three years, and we have to be good stewards of our taxpayers’ money.
“We know this time period will be difficult for our families. But we’re committed to providing a safe, structured learning environment for our students. We will continue to bargain with each labor union in good faith. We will share further updates as they’re available.”
Parents are responsible for transporting their children to and from school during the strike. Parents who are unable to provide transportation are asked to contact their school’s main office.