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Thu Dec 13, 2012, 01:19 PM

How joining the Union (RTW State) helped a worker with Lupus

This woman was a Special Needs Para in Florida. She had worked for the district for about 15 years, but had never joined the Union because she said she couldn't afford it on her salary.

Only about 30% of the paras in this district were Union. Horrible situation and we (coworkers) went around trying to convince staff to join the Union. At the end, the numbers went up to 80%, which included this woman.

After Rick Scott was elected, a lot changed from cutting staff to cutting benefits. Part of the staff reduction was to cut Teacher Aides, and Subs for the Special Ed Paras.
Where TA's supervised the general recess, now there weren't' enough and the Paras were required to leave their special needs classes for playground duty for the mainstream kids.

While the special needs paras always went outside to recess with "their" kids, it was only for a short period of time. The woman with Lupus now had to spend over an hour outside in the hot sun with the other kids, which made her condition very bad. She started getting very, very sick. However, now that she had joined the UNION, she could have representation, for her, AND everyone else.

First, this was a violation of the contract, which said this staff was only required to supervise play of the ESE kids. Second, this woman had a physical disability which the district knew when she was hired 15 years ago. Third, it also was a violation of the special needs kids rights because the laws stated there had to be set ratio of adults to children with disabilities.

The Union's attorney contacted the district and cited all these violations. The district backed down and hired part time staff to cover the recess hours. We heard that the Space Alien himself heard about all this and was FURIOUS at the increased union membership and this case.

"Thank you, for convincing me to join the UNION". "I might have been fired or forced to quit without it". This is what this para said when it was all over.

Unions are bad??????? I don't think so. You see, they don't just protect the "group's" rights, but also the individual's.





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