August 23, 2010
Here's an article that appeared in the August 22, 2010 Sunday Daily News regarding a private pay daycare center D.C. 1707, AFSCME is trying to get under union contract.
At the time of this article's publication I had just received a favorable Decision and Direction of Election from NLRB Region 2 holding that Head Teachers employed by PSA are not statutory supervisors exempt from coverage under the National Labor Relations Act. PSA attempted to argue for an extension of the Kentucky River line of cases in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that charge nurses were exempt statutory supervisors incapable of unionizing.
Eight at Preschool of America West End Day Care Center gain a union, then lose jobs
Sunday, August 22nd 2010, 4:00 AM
When the Preschool of America West End Day Care Center employees decided to join a union, they say that JoAanna Fan, the preschool CEO, was perfectly clear:
"I will not negotiate a contract with the union," she told them. She went even further: She terminated eight workers after the Aug. 2 federal certified election won by the union. According to the fired workers, Fan alleged they were not dependable.
"I voted for the union and two days later I was terminated," said Anesia Lloyd, 21, who started working at the West End day care as an assistant teacher at 16. "She [Fan] told me before the election not to vote for the union, that she knew who I was and wanted to keep me, that I was good. She also said that no one would be fired. Nobody trusted her, but I never thought she would fire me three days after the election."
Lloyd said she enjoyed her work despite the meager pay and poor working conditions because she loved the kids. She was hired at $8.25 an hour, and five years later she was still making $10 and change. She worked nine hours a day, and even though she was supposed to have eight sick days per year, company policy allows only one sick day per month, she said.
"If you were sick two days in a row, they wouldn't pay you for the second day," Lloyd said. Longer illnesses could get you fired.
Employees of the West Side center held a protest on Thursday outside their West End Ave. workplace against what they think are illegal firings.
"Representation elections are held daily across the nation without such dire actions," said Raglan George, the executive director of District Council 1707 AFSCME, the union that represents the employees after the election.
Firings began Aug. 5, and the union filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board. Employees had filed NLRB charges in June for harassment of pro-union workers. Federal labor law prohibits employers from harassing, threatening or firing workers for union activity.
In a statement signed by Mark Bresky, Preschool of America's general counsel, the day care denies any wrongdoing.
"The recent decisions by Preschool of America not to renew various expired employment agreements was carefully made following customary annual reviews and evaluations of its teachers and assistant teachers," the statement read in part. "We are confident that Preschool's recent decisions are not only lawful, but also in the best interests of its infants and preschoolers to whom Preschool remains committed."
On Sept. 7, the Lexington Ave. Preschool of America Day Care workers will also hold union elections.
"They have threatened to fire anybody who votes for the union," said Diana de Leon, a teacher at the Lexington Ave. facility who holds a B.A., in childhood education but makes only $10 an hour.
Two days after the West End election, Fan did something unusual: She visited the Lexington Ave. facility.
"She said she was very upset that we wanted to join a union," de Leon said. "But imagine, no raises for three or four years and a health plan so expensive that no one can afford it."
De Leon and all the employees we talked to were concerned about the impact the labor conflict could have on the children.
"What will happen with the children? And the parents?" De Leon asked.