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SPALC President announces retirement in email to union members

Posted at 12:30 AM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 00:30:14-04

LEE COUNTY — We have learned the head of the Support Personnel Association of Lee County is retiring.

That’s the union that represents bus drivers, mechanics, and other support staff at the Lee County School District. This comes after 83 bus drivers called out sick on Monday in the East Zone, in what the School District believes was a protest over working conditions.

We reached out to SPALC President Jamie Michael through email and by phone, but we couldn’t get in touch with her for a comment.

We did, however, get a copy of the email she sent out to her union members, where she said her retirement has to do with ongoing negotiations with the School District.

In that email, she said the school board “Has not allocated specific monies for negotiations.”

She said those negotiations were supposed to take place on Monday, but they were canceled. She continued, saying “Just like everyone else during COVID reevaluating their life, I have also been reevaluating my life and I have decided to retire effective November 1st.”

We had the chance to speak with a mechanic at the School District who is also a SPALC member. He said, with how upset many union members are with working conditions right now, he thought this might happen.

"A lot of drivers and people, I mean, are just not happy with her, and you see it, and look at how many drivers have died. I'll be honest with you, I've lost friends," said the mechanic, who only gave us his first name Ken.

Earlier this week, Transportation Director Roger Lloyd confirmed to us several bus drivers have died this year from COVID-19 when none died from the disease last year.

In her email, Michael encouraged her union members to continue to bring their concerns directly to the School Board.