In my opinion, administrative assistants are uniquely skilled professionals and should not be a part of a union, unless it is a union that is specifically for clerical workers. As there is currently no union for general administrative assistants or clerical workers, school district clerical workers have joined forces with cafeteria workers and para-professionals.
For an administrative level employee to be a part of a union with cafeteria workers and para-professionals is a disservice to all groups. Exactly what do these groups have in common that would benefit them joining together and being part of a wage tier pay system?
The $9 hour pay raise the District 150 clerical workers received does sound exorbitant, especially in light of the fact that the District is laying off teachers and cutting programs. However, in the real world of an administrative assistant, to make $22 per hour is hardly unheard of.
The pay that these administrative level clerical workers get should be in keeping with the level of work they do for their supervisor. Perhaps Debra Dimke and Pam Shau’s Assistants deserved a raise – consider that.
Administrative level assistants in human resources and payroll should be making a salary commiserate with the work of their supervisors - they should not be union employees.
Think about the work that human resources and payroll is doing theses days. You don’t have to make much of a stretch to imagine the pressure that comes with the complexity of work these administrative assistants or clerical workers are dealing with. These employees need insulation right along with their bosses and pay is just one way of giving it to them.
There is a reason why the administrative level assistants at Caterpillar or any other corporation are not in the union - it is because their pay is commiserate with the level of work their management level supervisor is entrusted with, as it should be and with that pay comes loyalty. (Loyalty - the thing that is sorely lacking in the District from it's employees both past and present.)
Because of the confidential nature of the work this group of employees is doing, the District and the Board cannot afford to loose their loyalty.
Sure, there are some issues that need to be ironed out with the level of transparency between the Board and Administration. But don't be a reactive Board and just rescind the pay, take a look at the level of work these people are performing now in this climate and pay them accordingly and when the jobs are reclassified, if at all possible, you all should make sure they are not union jobs.
Related article: District 150 clerical rasies rescinded