Northwest labor press. (Portland , Ore.) 1987-current, June 02, 2006, Page 8, Image 8

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    ...PPS custodians will
start returning to work
(From Page 1)
ingless.
PPS attorneys asked the Court to
rethink its decision. Instead, in April,
the Court reiterated it: firing the custo-
dians violated the law. Trouble is, the
Court didn’t say what the district had
to do next.
Cathy Mincberg, PPS chief operat-
ing officer, told the Labor Press the dis-
trict expects to recall the custodians
starting in July. The current PHC con-
tract expires at the end of June, and
won’t be renewed. The district will hire
an extra manager to oversee the transi-
tion. As to wages and benefits, that’s
not clear; the budget approved by the
school board in April did not include
money above what was going to PHC.
Mincberg said when the custodians
return, the district will work to bargain
a new contract with the union. As for
back pay, Mincberg maintains the dis-
trict doesn’t owe any— a position she
says PPS attorneys have validated.
To attorney Mark Griffin of Griffin
and McCandlish, that stance is prepos-
terous. Griffin is representing the fired
custodians in a federal lawsuit that was
put on hold awaiting the outcome of
the Civil Service Board lawsuit. Be-
cause it’s now been established that
PPS fired its custodians illegally, Grif-
fin said, the district must make the cus-
todians “whole.” That means: offer
them reinstatement, pay four years of
back pay (minus any wages they’ve
earned in that time), make four years
of pension contributions, and reim-
burse them for any medical costs that
would have been covered under their
health insurance.
“The school district is going have to
follow the law eventually,” Griffin said.
On May 20, the fired custodians
met once again at the Portland office
of SEIU Local 503, and were given
forms to fill out to get their claim
started. A steering committee elected
in December is trying to locate all the
custodians, and determine how many
are willing to go back to work for PPS.
“There’s a whole lot of trust issues
right now,” said custodian Grant Wal-
ter, former president of now-merged
SEIU Local 140. “I used to be a very
loyal district person. And even I don’t
trust them.”
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NORTHWEST LABOR PRESS
JUNE 2, 2006