Haverhill steers new course

ON THE UNION BUS: Leaders are looking to take the Haverhill Transportation Group to new heights. Front row from left, Gail Pelitier, treasurer; Gigi Terranova, chapter co-chair; Cindy Gouldsbrough, chapter co-chair; Beth Chasse, secretary; Michelle McCarthy, steward; and Rosalida Mendez, chief steward. And; second row in the yellow shirt, Gustavo Rivera, steward.

ON THE UNION BUS: Leaders are looking to take the Haverhill Transportation Group to new heights. Front row from left, Gail Pelitier, treasurer; Gigi Terranova, chapter co-chair; Cindy Gouldsbrough, chapter co-chair; Beth Chasse, secretary; Michelle McCarthy, steward; and Rosalida Mendez, chief steward. And; second row in the yellow shirt, Gustavo Rivera, steward.

There’s renewed activism in the Haverhill Transportation Group chapter, with additional leaders helping to fuel a successful drive for a new contract. The chapter covers about 40 school bus drivers, van drivers and bus monitors.

To top it off, two grievances were settled in union members’ favor last month. The school district has agreed to a more liberal policy for members on maternity leave and to properly post additional work so that members can bid on it.

“Members have really seen the benefit of joining together as a team, with the result that we’ve made good strides forward” said Larry Higgins, Local 888 internal organizer. “Previously, members had an attitude that nothing was ever going to change — but they have now changed their minds,” said Higgins.

The new three-year contract includes, for the first time, step raises — which recognize workers for service and dedication, but also for becoming better at what they do.

With the improved contract language, workers will receive a minimum of 3 percent annually in raises each year of the contract. In addition, the contract includes an improved grievance and arbitration procedure.

“We’ve broadened the number of chapter leaders in the process,” Higgins said. Instead of only having a couple people taking responsibility for the chapter, there are now seven. This broader representation of members includes a couple of Spanish-speakers in the new leadership.

 

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