Why Does the Agreement Make Volunteering so Difficult?
The collective bargaining agreement by and between the City of Evansville and the Chauffeurs, Teamsters and Helpers Local Union #215 makes it somewhat difficult and even expensive for the Department of Parks and Recreation to accept the volunteer services of local individuals and civic organizations.
First off the time requirements prohibit any work being done by part-time or volunteer laborers during the four and a half months from November 1st to the following March 15th so volunteer snow clearance, cutting up of tree limbs that have fallen or any other winter related improvement are not allowed as per the contract.
Second, this broadly reads like the acceptance of volunteer efforts has to run a gauntlet the last of which is whether or not a full-time employee wants to work overtime. If you wish to volunteer in a park on Saturday at ZERO COST, before your offer can be accepted a full-timer has to be offered the work at overtime rate. This whole requirement makes the red tape associated with seeking volunteers or being a volunteer a deterrent to the whole volunteer process.
From an overall perspective to enter into contracts that make volunteering to do work in public parks difficult undermines civic pride and adds unnecessary costs to the budget of the City of Evansville. In prosperous times when the parks are pristine such contracts while damaging could actually be tolerable. In times like these when playground equipment is falling apart, needles are in sandboxes, and four letter graffiti artists have tagged our parks, the restrictions on volunteerism is just insane.
There are many tasks that lend themselves to volunteerism. Just as there are exceptions to pulling permits to do small maintenance types of work on a home, there should be a list of tasks that volunteers can do at will in the public parks and they should be able to be completed year round. If the City of Evansville will not or cannot pay to have our parks properly taken care of let them at least enter into contracts that allow the citizens of Evansville to do things to take care of the parks that they the citizens own.
Following is the exact wording from the collective bargaining agreement regarding staffing levels.
Article XXXIV: Staffing Levels
Section 1. The Employer agrees that there will be no layoffs for the term of the Agreement and that any reductions in staffing will be accomplished through attrition only. Full-time positions which are provided for in the budget will be filled in a timely manner subject to appropriations.
Section 2 The Employer will notify the business representative of the Teamsters Local Union #215 , in writing, whenever it intends to utilize seasonal or part-time workers or free labor sources to do unit work (which can be utilized to do unit work at Locust Hill/Oak Hill Cemetery, the Parks Department, Community Center, Stadium/Victory Theatre, Swonder Ice Rink, and Mesker Park Zoo); those free labor sources include, but are not limited to, individual volunteers, civic organizations and clubs, work release, etc. The parties agree that the utilization of free labor sources or seasonal or part-time workers will not be used to deprive employees who have acquired seniority of any daily or weekly overtime. The labor may be used between March 15th and shall end October 31st of each year.
Section 3. Prior to March 15th, the Employer must identify by name in writing to Local 215, all names of the part-time/seasonal employees they intend to utilize. Prior to October 31st, the Union must notify the Employer in writing that the use of part-time/seasonal workers will expire on October 31st.
Failure of the City of Evansville to comply with the March 15th notification or the October 31st cut-off date, or those employees not identified prior to March 15th or who work past the October 31st cut-off date will become full-time employees of the City of Evansville.