June 24, 2016
Dear Tax Payers of Wesclin School District:
On behalf of Wesclin School District, I would like you to know that we support our local unions and all that they do for our local community. I recently learned that the roof replacement work at Wesclin Middle School and New Baden Elementary is being performed by individuals who are not members of the United Union of Roofers. This certainly causes concern throughout our community.
Unfortunately, Wesclin School District was not involved in the decision to hire non-union laborers on this project. You may recall that the Middle School and New Baden Elementary roofs were damaged in the hail storm of April 2012 – more than four years ago! We immediately contacted our insurance company after the harm was caused, and we have been fighting for the last 4 years to get these repairs made.
That fight was long and difficult. The insurance company decided to hire the contractor directly to perform the work, but disputes between the insurance company and the contractor landed everyone in court. After four years, we were finally able to get a court ruling earlier this year that cut through all of their red tape and allowed the work to get underway.
The benefit is that the insurance company is honoring its insurance policy, the contractor is honoring the bid that it submitted to the insurance company, and the School District is receiving more than $1.6 million in covered repairs. The only tax money being spent on the roofs is our insurance deductible of $25,000.
State law requires the contractor to pay prevailing wage for this work, but does not specifically require the contractor to hire union labor. While we are disappointed in the contractor’s decision, we could not require the contractor to hire union members, even if we had bid the work ourselves and paid for it out of School District funds. The contractor was selected by the insurance company, is being paid with insurance funds, and is working under court order.
This doesn’t mean that the School District is not involved in the process. We are monitoring the work being done by the contractor, and ensuring that all of the contractor’s work complies with State law, including prevailing wage. We want to make sure that the work is done right, and that school is ready to open in the Fall.
I want you to know that we appreciate the support that you have always shown Wesclin Unit School District and we support the local community.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 618.224.7583 ext 5655 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer C. Filyaw
Jennifer Filyaw, Superintendent