BRIGHTON, Mich. - Union solidarity is showing signs of wear in Brighton Area Schools, as the teachers union apparently snubbed a request from support staff employees to consider districtwide concessions, according to the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.

The district plans to save money by joining a transportation program operated by the Livingston Educational Service Agency, the Press & Argus reported, and Brighton bus drivers who transfer will face pay cuts and loss of health insurance.

"I feel they bailed on us, basically," bus driver Laura Rupp told the Press & Argus, speaking of the Brighton Education Association. "They just turned their backs on us."

BEA President Barry Goode declined to attend a meeting with the drivers and also declined comment to the Press & Argus, it reported.

One bus driver asked at a recent school board meeting that all employees take a 20 percent reduction in compensation as a way to address an overspending crisis expected to reach $15 million by June 2011, according to the report.

Superintendent Greg Gray said that even a 20 percent reduction, which would bring down spending by $8 million, was not a guarantee that jobs would be saved, the Press & Argus reported. He said the district is overstaffed, has an outdated bus fleet and has no sinking fund, according to the report.

SOURCE:
Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, "Cuts put Brighton unions at odds," Jan. 14, 2010

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Unions Nix Job-Saving Plan," Dec. 2, 2009

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