In the past two months teachers and paraprofessionals have worked to come even more together. You have heard about OUOC, but where did it all begin and why did we choose to make this attempt during this negotiation cycle?
Last year the paraprofessionals worked on contract negotiations that ended in a one year Memorandum of Agreement. Throughout the process, they sat through difficult conversations and felt as though some of their needs were not being met or answered. When we sat down at the table this year, we decided we need to do something to ensure all of our members were being treated equally while making us stronger together. The team decided we would ask to finalize being one union by coming together under one contract. In this process, we would negotiate another one year MOA for the paraprofessionals so our new contract dates would line up. Below I will share with you the statement that I gave to the School Committee and district negotiation team.
“The negotiations team spent time discussing how we are striving for the best for all students, no matter what our job description is. Teachers and paraprofessionals work hard to be cohesive units, to present academic, social emotional, and behavioral instruction throughout the school day and years in a positive manner. We are all on the same team and continuously work to be on the same page as each other. Two years ago, we made further strides to come together and became one union. We would like to propose that for the school year 2019-20 we write a one year MOA for the paraprofessionals. In 2020, teachers and paraprofessionals would like to finish coming together and become one union under one contract.
We feel this will be mutually beneficial to School Committee, administration and the NTA because we will all be on the same page. There would no longer be two contracts to refer to and the negotiations schedule will be lessened over time. We ask that you please consider this request. While it is not common yet within MTA local associations, this is the direction that teachers unions as a whole are moving. We have seen it work in Waltham, West Bridgewater, Leverett, Shutesbury, Braintree, and Walpole. Moreover, labor unions across the spectrum of the work environment have done this for years. In Boston, more than 5000 city employees with a myriad different titles and responsibilities work under a single contract because they are, as we are, one union with one voice who should have one contract.
Speaking with the presidents and the union reps from these different places, we have found that bargaining is easier for all parties, both management and members. The bulk of the language is bargained all at once, then we all spend a little extra time on the differences in our responsibilities and our salary scales. One of the benefits of involving members of different units in bargaining like this is that we are forced to see the unique roles and responsibilities of the different staff. It helps the teachers appreciate the paras, the paras appreciate the nurses, the nurses appreciate the counselors and so on.
But the bulk of our request, as we’ve said, is to stand united as one union with one voice. We already have one president, now we’re asking for one contract.”
The School Committee accepted our proposal and we quickly worked out a fair one year MOA for the paraprofessionals that included a 2.5% raise and added time to their work day so that they will be able to consult with teachers and therapists before students arrive. On January 14th at a General Membership meeting, we voted overwhelmingly to go forward and negotiate together under One Union One Contract. We have spent the last few weeks starting to assemble a negotiation team and will begin working on our proposals after February break.
In the coming week, teachers will receive a printed copy of our current contract. Also, we will be holding a “Contract Negotiations 101” training at all buildings so that we can help explain the process we will undergo this coming year. This is an exciting time for Norton as we are moving forward more together than we ever have been before. If you have any questions about the process, please do not hesitate to reach out and ask. I am extremely proud of the work we are currently undergoing and thank you for your support!
Paraprofessional Unit News
Thanks to the paraprofessional negotiation team for working diligently to come to a 1 year MOA with the anticipation of combining contracts with the teachers. We received a 2.5% raise and reinstated 30 mins to our work day.
“One Union One contract”
The MTA offers a ESP conference April 5th and 6th at the SeaCrest Hotel and we are hoping to send at least 6 paraprofessionals for this very informative conference.
“ A Paraprofessional”
You are the heartfelt hero. Using your talents to help students discover their own. Dedicating your time and energy each day to the students in your care, and doing it while meeting the individual needs of many.
Submitted by Diann Crugnale
Diann Crugnale’s first grandchild was welcomed with love and joy on January 11, 2019. Introducing Charlotte Grace Crugnale
New new member to the JCS family. Ashley Banks daughter, Harper Rae Banks, was born on January 1 weighing 8 lbs and 20 inches long.
Dee Greene became a grandmother again! Her fiance's daughter had a baby on January 17th, her name is Sienna Blaire.
Noteworthy News from NMS and NHS
NMS and NHS world language teachers (pictured from left to right: Heather Treannie, Amy Mahoney, former NHS teacher Mike Travers, Cristina Guillermo, and Martha Godfrey) attended the MaFLA conference in Springfield, MA this year. The conference workshops offered amazing tools and resources given by inspiring colleagues from around the country.
I attended and awesome LSDO series workshop instructed by our own Kim Zajac entitled "Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Empathy Right Over" - where she gave insight into Social/Emotional learning and what it can look like in the classroom. Giving students the tools to deal with challenges and modeling the growth mindset were key pieces I took away from this workshop.
Submitted by Heather Treannie
Submitted by Robin Lewicki
General Board Meeting