INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Bus drivers, food service workers and custodians were among school district support staff workers who took concerns over lost raises and bonuses to the streets Monday.
Members of the Communications Workers of America Local 3180 union, which represents the district's support staff, waved signs outside the school district administration building. The union members planned to wave signs throughout the week.
Last week, during a legislative hearing, the School Board unanimously sided with Schools Superintendent Fran Adams' recommendation to eliminate performance and in-service bonuses to the support staff and to end a salary schedule that built in raises for each year of experience a person accumulated, known as a step increase. Until the hearing, such bonuses and raises were mandated in the union's contract.
"They act like we're asking for all this money. We're trying to survive," said CWA President Harry Davis, a 22-year bus driver. Davis said support staff workers are among the lowest paid in the district and are working short-staffed. For example, there are just two custodians assigned for each elementary school. Bus drivers also are asked to double up routes.
Of the almost 300 jobs eliminated since 2008, about 125 were from the support staff, Davis said.
"We got hit harder than anybody," Davis said.