Gulf Coast Community Services Association News:
August 2001

Steward Training Set for August 25th

On Saturday, August 25th at 10:00 a.m., Local 100 will hold its Annual Steward Training at the Union Office, 704 East 11 ½ Street in Houston. The training will cover a review of the new Union Contract, including (1) Teacher Aides' right to teacher pay when they teach a class for more than a month without a teacher in the class room, (2) how to file a grievance, (3) lunch break policy, (4) organizing at work, and (5) a general discussion of the role of a SEIU Local 100 Steward at Gulf Coast Community Services Association (GCCSA).

At the end of the training participants will be awarded a certificate of completion as a Certified Union Steward. Anyone interested in being a part of this training should call the Union office before August 18. Call John Patrick at 713-863-9877 to make your reservation.

Lunch Breaks at GCCSA

A few months ago GCCSA attempted to reduce the lunch break for GCCSA employees stationed at Head Start Centers to thirty minutes each day. Stewards from each center along with Local 100 Representatives met with Head Start Director, Gerald Richards. During the meeting, members expressed their disapproval of the proposed change. The Union's position was clear: GCCSA must bargain with the Union over any changes in existing work rules and the Union was unwilling to even begin such bargaining.

If any GCCSA employee is not receiving a full one (1) hour for their lunch break they should call the Union office at 713-863-9877 and ask for Orell Fitzsimmons.

TAs Working without Teachers in Classroom

It is not uncommon for Gulf Coast Head Start Teacher Aides to work without a Teacher present. Fortunately for the TAs, the Union Contract stipulates that they must receive Teacher's pay if they teach a class alone for more than one month:

When a bargaining unit worker is assigned to fill a position for a full shift for an employee with a higher pay rate, the employee shall be paid the higher rate. Union Contract, Article 6: Section 5. Assignments

The Union has won many grievances for such cases over the last two years, but the only way for you to get the money you deserve is to call the Union office and let us know about it.

Our position is clear. Head Start children deserve to be taught by Certified Head Start Teachers every day of the school year. If GCCSA cannot provide a teacher for a classroom and a Teacher Aide has to take the responsibility, she should receive teacher's pay. If you have this problem call the Union office to set an appointment to fill out the forms to receive your pay.

Cooks & TAs Receive Big Pay Raise

In the last Contract signed by SEIU Local 100, GCCSA Cook's and Teacher Aides received, in many cases, over a $2,000 per year pay raise. Many of the Cooks and TAs were on the salary scale at $12,500 a year and during negotiations the Union argued that these salaries were below the poverty level for a family of four. We also stated that, "The goal of the Head Start program is to help children to get out of poverty. How can we do that when we are in poverty ourselves?"

Under our new Union Contract, no employees at GCCSA make less than $14,842 a year. This is just a beginning. We hope in the next Contract to push the bottom salary to $17,000 a year.