EHT schools open without custodial staff

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Nikki Djokovich/Alder Avenue Middle School Nikki Djokovich/Alder Avenue Middle School EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Schools were open in Egg Harbor Township School District Monday, April 21, but none of the district’s 10 schools had custodial staff working, a decision that put administrators and union officials at odds.

 Superintendent Scott McCartney called the custodians’ absence a “job action.”

The Egg Harbor Township Board of Education and the Egg Harbor Township Education Association have been at a stalemate in negotiations on a new contract since June and were set to meet with a state-appointed fact finder on Tuesday, April 22.

 “It is my understanding that the association leadership directed them not to come to work today as per contract,” he stated in an email.  “When the calendar was built last year, the day was discussed as a floating holiday or comp day, meaning the employee could choose to take off today or they could work and then take another day at their choosing. No employee lost anything under that solution. The leadership of the association informed me in the fall that, without a successor contract, they could not guarantee this option would work and that leads us to today.”

 Association President Kathy Waszen said the custodians’ day off is not a job action. “The custodians have Easter Monday off as a scheduled holiday,” Waszen said.

She said she publicly informed the board and the administration that the holiday is in the custodians’ existing contract and that the board had plenty of time to change the schedule to accommodate the snow days in a different way.

“Dr. McCartney and the BOE (except for James Galvin, Pete Castellano and Jack Haines) voted to keep the schools open on Easter Monday,” she stated in an email to The Current.

 “The EHTEA acted in a responsible way, notifying all parties far in advance so that they could make the proper arrangements. I know Dr. McCartney would like to blame the EHTEA, but the BOE made the decision, not the EHTEA.”

McCartney said administrators are “stepping in to fill the void” and that he was scheduled to dump trash at the Egg Harbor Township High School during lunches.

The approximate 150 custodians were scheduled to be back to work Tuesday, April 22.

Read more about contract negotiations:

Negotiations stall between Egg Harbor Township Board of Education, teachers union


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