COVID-19 and Rochester Labor
BENTE-AFSCME Local 2419
Interview with Dan DiClemente (President, Board of Education Non-Teaching Employees-American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2419), 24 August 2020
A vivid example of the impact of school scheduling on education workers is the decision of the Rochester City School District to lay off all members of BENTE-AFSCME local 2419 in anticipation of Rochester's schools remaining closed for the Fall. These twelve hundred workers — clerical, central office, custodial, food services, occupational and physical therapists, plant maintenance, security and transportation — having been deemed essential, had all continued to work despite the RCSD shutdown during the Spring. When management believed that all educational functions in the Fall would be virtual, the City School District proposed to furlough all twelve hundred BENTE workers. Despite the union's campaign to reinstate its members, based on a comprehensive plan ("Essential Then, Essential Now") showing how support staff remain essential even in an all-remote learning environment, once the state mandated keeping schools at least partly open, the District laid off two hundred twenty-one food and security service workers on October 16, depriving them of both income and benefits.