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Boosting Wages to “Raise Our Standard of Living”

Local affiliates have for the past three months continued to transform the future of work for themselves and the next generation at the negotiating table. Historic wage gains aimed at improving recruitment and retention are the highlight of a recent contract showcased in our latest collective bargaining wins report. The victory is a prime example of members – both today and tomorrow – benefitting by choosing “Union YES” and accomplishing more together than alone.

Members of our West Hartford Federation of Education Personnel in late May voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new four-year successor contract with school district officials. Working with AFT Connecticut Field Representative Logan Place, the affiliate’s negotiating committee secured significant pay raises for the district’s 200 historically undervalued classroom paraeducators (“paras”) in the tentative collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
 
“Our new contract is truly an example of a ‘win-win,'” said Danelia Brown (front row, second from left, in photo above), a special education para at King Philip Middle School. “We made unprecedented gains in wages for current members that will raise our standard of living. At the same time, we made our jobs much more appealing to future applicants,” added Brown, the local union’s president and member of the negotiating committee. 
 
Like the majority of Connecticut’s public school districts, West Hartford faces a learning crisis stemming from more than two years of pandemic-induced disruptions. Low wages for paras in particular meant too few vital education personnel to support the community’s approximately 9,000 students before the Coronavirus’ first wave hit in early 2020.
 
Click here for 2019 reporting on the paras’ previous contract, which provided the current negotiating cycle’s foundation. 
 
Brown pointed out that improving recruitment and retention was a primary goal of the committee in negotiating this successor agreement. She said the new contract builds on previous progress and “will help district administrators attract paras to support our community’s students for years to come.”
 
In addition to general wage increases, annual increments and restructured “step” movement, Brown and her team won increased stipends and boosted longevity payments. They also secured two new holidays, a second paid personal day and additional sick leave – all with compensation – for their members. 
 
Click here for additional photos of members voting to ratify the agreement.
 
The district’s board of education in early June voted to approve the contract, which was effective July 1.
 
Twelve other affiliates’ collective bargaining gains were announced since our previous report in April. Two recent settlements are awaiting next steps and will be shared on our social media platforms once finalized.
 
Click here for a photo of our Hartford Federation of School Secretaries’ bargaining team in their contract win announcement.
 
Click here for an update on our Bloomfield Federation of Education Personnel’s recent contract win.
 
Click here for the announcement of our Danbury Nurses Union’s staffing bonus agreement.
 
Click here for an update on our EastCONN Federation of Instructors’ recently ratified CBA.
 
Click here for a collage of Hartford Federation of School Health Professionals’ members announcing their new CBA.
 
Click here for a photo of our Portland Paraprofessionals Organization president signing their new contract.

 

 
Click here for the announcement of our Middletown Federation of Paraprofessionals’ successor CBA. 

 

 
Click here for a photo of our Job Corps United’s negotiating committee celebrating their new CBA.

 

 
Click here for the announcement that our Hartford Federation of Paraeducators’ contract was finalized.
 
Click here for the announcement of of L&M Hospital Federation of Technologists’ new paramedics accretion agreement.
 
Click here for the update on approval of our Manchester Paraprofessionals & Tutors Association’s paras contract. 
 
Click here for a photo of University Health Professionals (UHP) union leaders at their new staffing bonus agreement signing.
 
Eighteen locals are currently in — or preparing for — negotiations or awaiting next steps in the arbitration process.
 
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