Iowa School District
Learns To Live
With UE Local 893
A last-minute push at the bargaining table by UE members employed by
the Adel-DeSoto-Minburn (ADM) school district won a second contract and avoided
having the settlement watered down through fact-finding and arbitration.
These UE members are educational associates, secretaries, bus drivers,
custodians and food service workers; they are organized as Sublocal 56 within amalgamated
Local 893, Iowa United Professionals.
'One Last Meeting' Does It
The union and school district officials had met for several negotiating
sessions with little success; not even a state-appointed mediator could help arrange a
settlement. Under Iowa public sector law, the next step after mediation is factfinding. A
fact finder and hearing date had already been chosen when the parties decided to meet one
last time on March 19. A few hours later a tentative agreement was readied for a
The new contract is three years in duration, although wage increases will
be negotiated annually. Next school year workers will receive hourly wage increases as
high as 35 cents.
The pervasiveness of wage inequity prior to the union presented UE
negotiators with difficult choices in first-contract negotiations and continued to
complicate bargaining for the second agreement. The one-year long first contract did not
have each employee exactly pegged on the wage schedule. "There was just no way to do
that all at once last year," said Nancy Boston, Sublocal 56 president.
To rectify matters, the new contract places nearly 75 percent of the
workers properly on the salary schedule, and this group will receive the largest increases
in subsequent years.
Another key gain is in the area of "business leave." The
previous contract provided for three full-pay business leave days per year for full-time
employees; the new contract extends this business leave to all employees regardless of
hours. Part-time employees are approximately half the workforce.
Boston noted a drastic change in the school districts bargaining
posture since last year. "They had a completely different attitude this time,"
she said. "Last year, they were still shocked that we had formed a union, and thought
they could rattle us out of it. By this year, they had figured out we were UE and there
was nothing they could do about it."
The ADM negotiating committee consisted of Nancy Boston, Gilbert Webb,
Barb Gordon, Patty Mercial, Shirley Hopewell, Sandy Spooner, Kathy McGillivray and Diane
Bogardus. Curt Rasmussen, Tony Bennett and Roxana Bennett alternated as custodial
representatives. The committee was assisted by UE Field Org. Don Taylor.