Derby Paraeducators Unanimously Approve 4 Year Contract
Updated On: Nov 23, 2021
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic and its impact on in-person meetings, negotiating the Derby Paraeducator’s first Agreement since joining UPSEU had to be delayed in order to allow for more productive negotiations of a full successor contract.
In late Spring, the Derby Paraeducator Negotiating Committee (Consisting of President Sam Mahan, Treasurer Rita Mammano, Robin Griskus, Gessy Philius, Lisa Neumann, Cory Bartone, Donna Kalafut and Ron Swierbitowicz) started meeting to determine those things that would be prioritized in their next contract and brought forward in upcoming negotiations with the Board. Extensive discussion took place around recent movements for “The Fight For $15” as well as the significant role paraeducators provided to support students throughout the Covid-19 health crisis. As a result of these discussions, the consensus was unanimous: Wages had to be addressed.
UPSEU provided the Board with an analysis of paraeducator earnings in surrounding towns to support their position that wages would be front and center in these negotiations. Following several discussions with the Board, a Tentative Agreement was reached.
The 4-year agreement provides significant wage increases in year 1 of the contract. Each Paraeducator will realize higher than average increases in each of the remaining 3 years, in step increases or a general wage increase. Unit President Sam Mahan commented, “A big shout-out to our Labor Representative Colleen Ezzo for all her hard work and help in securing these increases!”
An additional change to this contract was the elimination of a sunset clause that prevented new hires from receiving a stipend for working with students with high needs. Bethany Seefeldt, who was impacted previously by this clause stated, “A very special ‘Thank You!’ to UPSEU and this Committee for opening the door for new hires to be compensated the same as others for the work that we do!” The Medical Insurance will see no changes throughout the 4-year contract, with coverage, premium shares and co-pays remaining untouched.
Labor Representative Colleen Ezzo commented, ‘I want to pay special tribute to this committee, who were called into more than one meeting at a moment’s notice - most especially President Mahan and Treasurer Mammano. Their never-ending dedication, passion and commitment in advancing the wages and benefits for this Unit led to this very successful negotiating session, and ultimately this 4 year agreement!” Committee Member Griskus expressed, “We are on our way with UPSEU!”