Union sues in privatization case

CASS CITY, Mich. - The union that represents six former school custodians in Cass City is suing the private company that now provides custodial service to the district, alleging that the company interfered in the business relationship between the union and Cass City Public Schools, according to the Huron Daily Tribune.

Custodians who were laid off when the district hired D.M. Burr Facilities Management in June 2009 are asking for at least $25,000 in damages in the case, which is scheduled to be heard in Tuscola County Circuit Court in late March, the Tribune reported.

The suit was brought by the Cass City Educational Support Personnel Association, which claims in court documents that D.M. Burr interfered with the contract in place between the union and the school district, which was to expire June 30, 2012, according to the Tribune.

The company responded in court documents that the district requested D.M. Burr to enter discussions and submit a proposal, the Tribune reported. The company said it contacted the six laid off custodians for interviews, but that the custodians declined, the report said.

The union also filed an unfair labor practice charge in the case, and while an administrative law judge reached a decision, he is withholding it until the civil suit is resolved, the Tribune reported.

Huron Daily Tribune, "Pretrial set in CC support staff union suit against D.M. Burr," Feb. 17, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "School Privatization Survey 2009," Dec. 7, 2009