After the Wausau School District built an area just outside the school for parents to pickup their kids, the intersection became busier than usual for a short time each day.
Eschenbach did a noble thing. He went over to the school and spoke with parents, kids and administrators, and he volunteered to patrol the area at pickup time to make sure kids got to their parents’ cars and that others crossed the streets safely.
He had previously worked for five years as a crossing guard at the Franklin Elementary School until three years ago. He lives two doors down and it’s for a half hour every day. Who could take issue with that?
Well, apparently union bosses can.
Thanks to union grievance procedures, the union representing school crossing guards filed a formal complaint over this sweet old man volunteering to get the kids across the street safely. And according to the union, only a highly paid government employee should be permitted to do that job.
The city has been cutting back crossing guard hours from 15 hours a week to 10 a week. Of course, the elderly volunteer isn’t a volunteer with the city, he volunteers with the school.
Since the pickup location is newly restructured, there hadn’t ever been the need to have a crossing guard there. There was no prior job this gentleman has taken away from the union. Really, the guy just lives right there and thought he’d help out.
Riverside Elementary School Principal Steve Miller was shocked.
“Here we have a community member who’s giving back to the community and offering something to the children to keep them safe and so I just view it as a good thing and I’m not sure why someone would find fault with that but obviously somebody has.”After AFSCME filed a grievance regarding the matter last October, it was recently denied by the Police Department, the Human Resources Department and the Human Resources Committee. Next step: arbitration, if the union so chooses.
Fifth-grader Megan Sichterman, told WAOW, an ABC affiliate, "I was really sad because all the kids really like him. He's really nice to everybody, and I was kind of scared at the same time that we wouldn't see him on the corner anymore."