The negotiating table continues to be where labor and management can find the common ground necessary to plug retention shortfalls and close nagging recruitment gaps impacting nearly all industries. Numerous affiliated local unions from across our state federation have for the past three months focused efforts on this shared objective. Our latest collective bargaining report highlights a recent contract victory where members tapped the power of “Union YES” to secure immediate gains and build momentum for future progress.
Certified educators in Norwalk Public Schools in late September gathered to review a tentative agreement on a successor union contract with the district’s board of education (BOE). Members of our AFT Connecticut-affiliated local union’s negotiating committee, along with Ferguson, Doyle and Chester partner Jim Ferguson, presented the details, answered questions and ultimately facilitated a ratification vote.
“Where we made gains really shows how our team zeroed in on our members’ immediate priorities,” said Mary Yordon (back row, far right in photo above), president of our Norwalk Federation of Teachers. “Adoption of a new insurance plan and revision of salary schedule put dollars In their pockets during a period of inflation,” she added.
Yordon’s comments refer to long overdue corrections she and the committee made to step placement and credit for salary level movement. They additionally established a process for adopting a new medical insurance plan that promises reduced employee co-shares and co-funded health savings accounts by the fall of 2023.
The committee also secured equitable pay raises for each of the agreement’s years, as well as boosts to stipends for coaching duties.
“Taken together, these accomplishments make the best use of precious tax dollars to attract and retain quality certified staff,” added Yordon.
for a collage of photos from the local union’s ratification meeting and vote.
While the committee made progress, their community continues to face a learning crisis fueled largely by the loss of their experienced, veteran colleagues. They had to further stand their ground in negotiations to resist district officials’ attempts to eliminate the stipend for department chairs while simultaneously increasing responsibilities.
“Many of management’s proposals did not reflect the reality of Norwalk’s teacher exodus and its impact on our students,” said Yordon, “While we have much to celebrate in this agreement, there is still much unfinished work to be done over the next three years.”
for recent reporting on the district’s learning crisis.
The contract, which is effective next July 1, was in mid October approved by the district’s BOE.
Four additional wins at the negotiating table were publicized since our previous report in July. Another seven are awaiting next steps and will be announced on our social media platforms as they are settled.
for the announcement of our University Health Professionals (UHP) union’s latest staffing bonus agreement.
for our Meriden Federation of Maintenance Employees celebrating their new contract.
for a screenshot of our Meriden Federation of Paraprofessionals ratifying their successor agreement.
for a photo of our New Britain Federation of Paraedcators’ negotiating committee commemorating their win.
Twenty-three affiliates are either at, or are preparing to go to, the negotiating table or awaiting next steps in the arbitration process.