YPSILANTI, Mich. - Against the recommendations of its consultant, the Ypsilanti Public Schools Board of Education agreed to use union contractors for renovations at three elementary schools, increasing the cost by 5 percent, according to media reports.

Officials with Plante Moran presented a $3.76 million plan to the board based on choosing the lowest bidders, the Ypsilanti Citizen reported. After switching to union companies for several contracts per school, the price estimate rose to $3.95 million and a Plante Moran spokesman said there could be contingency costs, according to the Citizen.

"It's great," Ypsilanti resident and union electrician Jay Tafini said after the board's decision, according to the Citizen. The board awarded a contract to union employer Metro-Electric rather than Great Lakes Power and Lighting, the Citizen reported.

Union representatives pointed out that their members supported the bond issue that paid for the work and also referred to future votes, according to The Ann Arbor News.

"As we look toward an enhancement millage in the future, be sure (to remember) that union workers vote," teacher's union President Kelly Powers told the board.

The only non-union company selected by the board was Steel Equipment Company, which will install new lockers, the Citizen reported.

Board member Floyd Brumfield voted in favor of the changes, but also said, "The public doesn't trust us to spend wisely. Some of these changes draw questions to mind," the Citizen reported.

SOURCES:
The Ypsilanti Citizen, "Ypsilanti schools go with union labor, despite higher cost," Jan. 13, 2009

The Ann Arbor News, "Ypsilanti school board OKs $200,000 added cost to use unionized companies for renovation work," Jan.13, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "Michigan's prevailing wage law forces schools to waste money," Dec. 13, 2001

Share More …