Hopkinton, MA – School paraprofessionals declared victory on Thursday, June 14 in their 19 month effort to form a union and improve working conditions after an overwhelming majority of the workers voted to ratify their first union contract.
The union agreement with School District management will improve paid time off by increasing holidays from five to eleven per year and allowing workers more sick time if needed. The contract ensures workers a voice on-the-job and increases their job security with an enforceable grievance and arbitration procedure. Paraprofessional will also receive regular scheduled wage increases.
School Paraprofessionals provide opportunity for students to have individualized instruction in the classroom. There are about 80 employees in the Hopkinton Paraprofessional Chapter.
“We are really excited to finally have our first contract and get the recognition for all the hard work we do,” said Ken Marin, a twelve year employee of the school district. “Now we are on our way to get the respect we deserve.”
“This will benefit all the paraprofessionals and our students going forward,” said Linda Smith, a Hopkinton paraprofessional who helped negotiate the union contract with a team of six co-workers. “And it puts us on an equal footing with the rest of district. A lot of what we were looking for was respect. Our new contract is a good start”
Employees decided to form their union in October of 2010 and won certification for collective bargaining on May 31, 2011. Bargaining began second week of June 2011.
“SEIU Local 888 unites over 500 paraprofessional educators in Massachusetts for the good jobs and quality education our communities need,” said local president Mark DelloRusso. “In today’s challenging environment for public service workers, gaining strength through unity is the key to maintaining standards and advancing in your career.”
To read MetroWest’s news coverage see: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/newsnow/x448224420/Hopkinton-school-aides-agree-on-contract