Union members of West Islip School District's custodial staff came together in front of West Islip High School Monday to rally against what they called "wholesale changes of workers' hours and shifts made by the district without notice."
The changes are "playing havoc on people’s lives" said Kevin Boyle Jr., president of the United Public Service Employees Union.
According to Boyle's claims, 22 to 23 custodians are being moved from day shifts to night and night shifts to day. At least five people are sole care givers for their parents, he said, making shift changes nearly impossible for them.
The union has no issue with its current contract or wages, Boyle added.
Members said they feel the shift changes are retaliation for pushing back against an attempt by Building and Grounds Director James Bosse to implement additional custodial supervisors in the wake of the closing of Westbrook and Kirdahy Elementary schools.
Boyle said the union met with district officials in May about how the positions would be covered with the two buildings closing. The union thought they had worked out the details, but according to Boyle, the district then went in a
different direction without notice.
“We all feel like we are being punished,” said James Moran, a high school custodian for more than 20 years and a shop steward of the West Islip Custodial Union.
Moran works night shifts, while his wife works during the day. He said moving to the day shift would mean he and his wife having to hire a babysitter to look after their child while they're at work.
Moran told Patch he feels that district is trying to break up the union.
Prior to thse recent events, he said, the union's relationship with the district was "not bad."
Patch's request for comments from the West Islip School District were not immediately returned.
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