Hard-Fought Tentative Agreement Nearly Unanimously Approved By The Madison Association of Educational Supportive Services (MAESS) Members
Posted On: Oct 21, 2019
At the stroke of midnight on September 6, after five negotiation sessions and a long night with mediator Mike Ricci, the MAESS negotiating committee and the District reached a tentative agreement for a successor collective bargaining agreement. A month later the committee’s efforts were recognized when the membership nearly unanimously ratified the agreement.
Although hard work is its own reward, the committee’s hard work was rewarded with substantial contract improvements. Non-economic improvements included improved bulletin board language, improved grievance language, improved evaluation language, improved layoff policy language, improved recall period language, improved discipline language and improved resignation language. The contract was also improved by deleting unnecessary language about the negotiation process, adding new language about clarifying early dismissal day policy and cleaning up outdated language.
There were economic rewards as well. Improvements were made to out-of-classification work pay, nurses won additional paid prep days, the hourly rate for paraeducators that sub was increased, existing stipends were increased and new ones created, and all members received an additional personal day. On the wage front, many employees who had not received step increases for years received them, and all employees received above market wage increases. The Board’s many proposals to either eliminate or reduce benefits were rejected by the committee, with only a slight increase in employee healthcare cost share percentage agreed to.
MAESS Unit Co-President Carla Marino summed up the difficult negotiations in an email to members, saying “It was truly a fight and Matt Geer’s negotiating skills and vast knowledge of the economic realities of municipal contracts were indispensable . . . A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step (pun intended)[.] Thank you all for coming out and showing your support and for all the important work you do in your positions every day.”
UPSEU Regional Director Matt Geer said “I would like to again thank your negotiating committee consisting of Carla Marino, Sue Evans, Lynn DeMarco, Maura Cutler, Barbara Gulick, Elizabeth Solin, Cynthia Tracy, Heidi Dennison, and Eileen Schurk for their leadership during this process as they worked closely with me during our negotiations with the District. Their advocacy on behalf of the entire membership is paramount to our success.”