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Paraeducators of Stamford Association Members Vote Nearly Unanimously to Ratify New Contract
Updated On: Nov 15, 2019
Last month, Paraeducators of Stamford Association (POSA) members votedoverwhelmingly to approve the terms of a tentative agreement for a successor collective bargaining agreement. The negotiating committee fought to secure both substantial language changes cleaning up the contract and above market economic improvements. Theirhard work resulted in a tentative agreement that the unit was proud to ratify.
During negotiations significant time and effort was dedicated to improving contract language. The negotiating committee was able to improve job evaluation language, personnel file language, reduction in force language and FMLA language; eliminate the District’s ability to withhold wage advancement for unsatisfactory job evaluations; and introduce much needed voluntary transfer language as well as language requiring the District to provide each member with a safe and secure location to store personal belongings while working.
Economic improvements secured by the committee included codifying the practice that the days before Thanksgiving and Christmas are scheduled shortened days but are paid as full work days, as well as codifying the practice that employees are dismissed fifteen minutes after students in the event of an early dismissal or late opening due to inclement weather. Further improvements included benefits such as not docking employees for lunch breaks if they are on a field trip and cannot take their break, permitting participation in dental coverage without participation in the medical insurance, doubling life insurance, increasing stipends for subbing, establishing a benefit to compensate paraeducators injured on the job due to accident or assault, increasing sick days available for family illness days, establishing a tuition reimbursement plan, eliminating years two and three from the salary steps, and incorporating annual stipends into the salaries of positions allowing those monies to be added to members’ pensions. In addition to all the above, the negotiating committee was able to achieve above market wage increases and minimize any increases to members’ health insurance costs.
POSA Unit President, Paulette DeLeo, noted "Many years the Paraeducators of Stamford Association have come away from negotiation sessions feeling as if we lost a battle. The attorney representing our members was also the attorney for the Administrative Unit. We felt the voice was not in our corner and had many long issues related to the Paraeducators. Matt Geer and Nephty Cruz from UPSEU were a breath of fresh air. We are still standing strong after one battle and feel confident and secure in moving into the next negotiations with Matt and Nephty, they not only hears us but are on our side. The new sheriff in town has just begun to move us into a positive and secure membership."
The Negotiation Chair for the POSA bargaining unit, Elyse Pastore, commented "After many years of of sitting through negotiations, I noticed a huge difference since our group affiliated with UPSEU . Matt Geer and Nephty Cruz met with our team, listened to our concerns and we collectively came up with a plan that would benefit our membership. Matt and Nephty were available to answer our questions throughout the entire process day or night."
UPSEU Regional Director Matt Geer stated, “I would like to thank [the] Executive Board consisting of Paulette DeLeo, Elyse Pastore, Deborah Gibb, Linda Uva and Deena McKee for their leadership during this process as they worked closely with Nephty Cruz and myself during our negotiations with the District. Their continued advocacy on behalf of the entire membership continues to be paramount to our success.”