Chariho School Parents’ Forum

September 19, 2007

Response to NEA

Filed under: Budget,contract negotiations,Unions — Editor @ 4:01 pm

Regarding the quotes in the ProJo – I originally called them lies, but I suppose it is possible that the NEA has not informed their members of the facts.

From the ProJo:
“Union members at yesterday’s meeting said health care and benefits remain the most contentious issues. According to union members, health-premium copayments, currently at 20 percent for those hired on or after July 1, 1997, would be extended to more union members and possibly increased to 30 percent for some.”

I can’t speak about what happened at the meeting (unfortunately) but I can say this – We have never proposed 30% copays – far from it.   I have no idea how they could make this statement. 

 Some of them do pay 20% (others pay nothing) – what they neglected to tell you is that article 10.2.F states that we will also give them $520 for taking Healthmate coast-to-coast. 

108 of the 166 support staff take this option.  38 take the buyback (they receive 25% of the premium amount) and 14 take Classic coverage.  Due to the number of hours worked (less than 20) the balance (6) are not eligible for coverage.

Also from the Journal:
Salary increases for support personnel, he said, have historically been below cost-of-living increases and far less generous than other district contracts.”

This, again, is a head scratcher. 

Last things first – if Chariho is “less generous than other district contracts,” I would say the other districts are nuts.

Onto the question of being “below cost-of-living increases.”   There is one scenario that MIGHT be below COLA, but it is remote and everyone else exceeds that rate by a considerable margin.  Look at the facts.

The current salary increases in the contract are:  04-05 @ 3.5%, 05-06 @ 3.5%, 06-07 @ 3%, for an average of 3.33%.  The US Dept of Labor has set the COLA at 3.33%.

In addition to those increases, employees receive step increases in the first four years eligible (years 2-5).  In this contract, there are seven groups of employees with varying raises, depending on the year.

TA’s/clerks/courier/C&T dining room asst/custodians, over years 2,3,4 & 5  get   3.5%, 2%, 11% and 12.8% for an average of 7.33%.  Add in the contract raise and the average salary increase for TA’s/clerks/courier/C&T dining room asst/custodians is 10.66%.

Behavioral Management Assistant II’s, over years 2,3,4 & 5 get  3%,  1.73%, 9.5% and 11.2% for an average of 6.36%.  Add in the contract raise and the average salary increase for BMAII’s is 9.69%.

Secretaries, over years 2,3,4 & 5 get  3.9%, 1.4%, 10.4% and 12.6 for an average of 7.08%.  Add in the contract raise and the average salary increase for secretaries is 10.41%. 

Fiscal clerks, over years 2,3,4 & 5 get  2%, 2.3%, 8.1% and 11.2% for an average of 5.9%.  Add in the contract raise and the average salary increase for fiscal clerks is 8.42%.

Maintenance and grounds keepers, over years 2,3,4 &5 get 1/4%, 1.6%. 7.7% and 10.2% for an average of 4.94%.  Add in the contract raise and the average salary increase for maintenance and GK’ers is 9.69%.

Licensed maintenance, BMA I, Comp Techs, over years 2,3,4 & 5 get  1/4%, 1.3%, 6,2% and 8.5% for an average of 4.06%.  Add in the contract raise and the average salary increase for licensed maintenance, BMA I and computer technicians is 7.39%.

Occupational Therapists, over years 2,3,4 & 5 get 3.1%, 3%, 3% and 5.9% for an average of 3.75%.  Add in the contract raise and the average salary increase for OT’s is 7.08%.

There are 166 support personnel at Chariho and the average raise when receiving steps is 9.05%. 

When an employee starts the sixth year of employment and the step increases end, they then begin receiving longevity payments.

Longevity is based on the following formula – $2.00 times 52 times the number of employed years completed.  The lowest bonus received from this equation would be $520 (2.00 X 52 X 5 = $520). 

For a clerk or custodian making $30,000 per year, that would equate to 1.7%.  Add that to the contract raise average of 3.33% and you get 5.03%.  This is the absolute lowest raise they could get – every year the longevity payment will increase.

Back to the quote – “Salary increases for support personnel, he said, have historically been below cost-of-living increases and far less generous than other district contracts.”

The only way the NEA could say that someone gets “below” COLA is to use the most remote scenario. 

Take a licensed maintenance person, starting his or her second year (1/4% raise), which coincided with the third year of the contract (3% raise).  This employee would receive a 3.25% raise.  I’ll give the NEA that much credit – they crafted a contract so they could say, theoretically, someone was below COLA.

Now lets look at another scenario (several of them) – lets take a Teachers Assist, clerk, district currier, dining room assistant, or custodian in his or her fifth year (12.8% raise), which fell on the first or second year of the contract (3.5 raise) – that person would make a 16.3% raise.  Nearly 5 times COLA.

Now lets throw on the 1.5 sick days per month, two personal days, 12 Holidays, and the insurance buy backs (25%). 

I think I can be confident in saying that every school committee in the state wants the same thing – we want our public employees treated the same as those in the private sector – no better, no worse.

Ask yourself this –
Does your company give half of its employees* an average raise of 9% (Chariho teachers are actually at 10.7%)?
Does your company pay you not to take health insurance (upwards of $4500)?
Does your company give you 1.5 paid sick days per month?
How many Holidays do you have?
Personal days?
Do you have to work longer than 6.75 hours per day?
Are your raises and job security based on seniority?

* about half of the teachers and between 1/3 – 1/2 (heard different #’s) of the support personnel are on steps.  Others get longevity.  If you want to figure it out – the list of salaries, hire date, etc…, sorted by job description, is available here. 

[UPDATE] the support contract has been uploaded 

Support Personnel Contract 

Certified Teacher Contract



  1. Here’s the answers to the question you asked.

    1. My company gave out its first general raise in three years just a few months ago.

    2. No support personnel in my company received a 9% raise.

    3. College educated professional employees at my company may or may not have received 10% or higher raises, but since they individually negotiate their employee contracts based on performance, we are not privy to their compensation (although benefits are the same for all employees).

    4. My company does pay us to decline insurance coverage. They do appreciate when employees decline coverage. I’ve heard them say thank you.

    5. We receive 5 sick days per year. There is no carry over to the next year.

    6. We are paid for 8 holiday.

    7. We receive 5 personal days. There is no carry over to the next year.

    8. Work days are 8 hours for service employees. Lunch is not paid. Professional employees work days are likely longer. Overtime has a mandatory component. Service employees have worked every Saturday for more than a year.

    9. In the summer, service employees can come in earlier on Fridays and leave earlier (still 8 hours of work).

    10. Raises and job security are completely performance based. While my company is stable, employees do get fired if they do not perform.

    Our healthcare coverage requires a co-pay of $20 for doctor office visits. Prescription co-pays are $30. My per family member deductible is $500 with a total deductible of $1500. I have no dental coverage or eye care coverage. All these expenses are out of pocket. My pension plan recently switched from profit sharing to 401K. Under profit sharing, the annual amount averaged around $1,800. With the 401K, the company matches up to half of our first 4%. No other matching and no other retirement benefits.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 19, 2007 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  2. Oops, #4 should have said “does NOT pay us to decline insurance coverage”.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 19, 2007 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  3. […] This is not unlike the false comments made in the press after the NEA meeting last week.  So, we have a similar analysis done for the Chariho contract here. […]

    Pingback by Contract analysis continues « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — September 26, 2007 @ 12:00 am | Reply

  4. If the school committe cannot find its way clear to bargaining to an affordable and reasonable –for everyone– contract this session it is going to find itself on the receiving end of a tax revolt I believe. The giveaways have got to end. It no longer matters if another district does it, no more ‘thank you so much for participating in our insurance program’ buybacks.
    Stop making up taxpayers suck wind.
    We deserve better than what we are getting. And as for the new test scores, anyone notice that it wasn’t phrased as over 56% of Chariho students DO NOT MEET THE STANDARDS EVEN THOUGH WE’VE BEEN PAYING THROUGH THE NOSE FOR YEARS NOW !!!

    Comment by very tired — September 28, 2007 @ 1:07 pm | Reply

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