As Local 372 members return to their jobs, bureaucrats at the Department of Education (DOE) are pre¬paring pink slips and layoff notices for nearly 800 school aides.
“During the budget negotiations this June, the Chancellor [Dennis Walcott] called Lillian Roberts [DC 37 executive director] to try to work with DC-37 to avert DOE layoffs. Unfortunately, the union would not agree to any real savings that could have saved these jobs, so schools took a larger budget cut than might have otherwise been necessary, and these layoffs are the result,” said Barbara Morgan, Deputy Press Secretary for the DOE.
In order to protest the loss of jobs for school aides, community coordinators, health aides and family workers, Assemblymember William Scarborough, Local 372, teachers, parents, elected officials and labor leaders gathered in Springfield Gardens at P.S. 15 the Jackie Robinson School, on Friday, September 23.
“Schools cannot afford to lose these workers. They formed a support network with them and in order for teachers to teach they need this network,” said Scarborough.
The protest, which drew about 75 people, was a means to give Mayor Michael Bloomberg a message — “Save Our Schools! Save Our Communities.”
“I am deeply concerned about these planned layoffs. These layoffs have threatened the most vulnerable in our city, many of them single mothers with children, and will have a devastating ripple effect on our economy. They must be rolled back,” said Scarborough.
Job losses will be most felt in areas such as East New York, Brownsville, Williamsburg, Washington Heights, and the South Bronx; places that are already in need of enhanced social services and suffer with higher unemployment rates, according to President of Local 372 Santos Crespo.
Over the course of the past three years, unions and schools have lost more than 1,600 school and health aides, according to Crespo.
“I know the city is planning an ongoing effort to save these jobs, but there are other things they can cut back on instead of laying off these members,” said Scarborough.