media
February 22, 2019

Inspire Staff United goes on strike seeking better learning environment at Inspire Kids

Source: NYSUT Media Relations
Inspire Staff United

GOSHEN, N.Y. Feb. 22, 2019 — Members of Inspire Staff United went on a one-day strike Friday to protest management’s disregard for fair contract provisions that would allow the network of schools to better serve preschool children with intensive education needs.

Inspire Staff United organized in 2015 to seek better working conditions at Inspire’s schools, which serve children with developmental disabilities from across Orange County. Negotiations with Inspire’s administration on a first contract began in January 2016, but more than three years later, negotiations still have not led to a fair agreement that would provide for a better learning environment for these children. Inspire Staff United has articulated numerous concerns, including:

  • short staffing due to high staff turnover, which contributes to high caseloads that take away from staff’s ability to serve every child;
  • insufficient pay, which has contributed to difficulties in filling vacant positions and exacerbates issues stemming from high caseloads; and
  • poor communication from the administration to staff, which has led to a stressful environment.

“Inspire Kids faculty comes to work every day dedicated to teaching our young children with some of the greatest needs,” said Eileen Kelly, day care coordinator for Inspire. “It is shameful that the administration is not putting the needs of these children first and has instead resorted to castigating employees who simply want to create a better learning environment that will better serve these kids.”

“Inspire Kids faculty comes to work every day dedicated to teaching our young children with some of the greatest needs,” said Eileen Kelly, day care coordinator for Inspire. “It is shameful that the administration is not putting the needs of these children first and has instead resorted to castigating employees who simply want to create a better learning environment that will better serve these kids.”

Inspire Staff United members began picketing outside of Inspire’s Goshen preschool early Friday morning and planned to continue throughout the day to raise awareness about the administration’s disinterest in fair negotiations.

They are supported by parents like Jillian Deleo, a Highland Falls mother whose 5-year-old son Luca receives speech and play therapy at Inspire Kids.

“It’s because of the incredible work of Inspire’s dedicated staff that Luca will be ready to attend kindergarten next year,” Deleo said. “These hard-working men and women go above and beyond — and Luca’s readiness for school in Highland Falls is proof positive of that. Our children need the best learning environment possible, and treating Inspire staff with fairness and respect will help create that.”

This is not the first time that Inspire Staff United has demonstrated against the Inspire administration’s disregard for better schools for young children with intensive education needs. Staff picketed in 2017 to raise awareness of the impact that unfair working conditions have on children at Inspire.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

-30-


NYSUT Footer
Our Voice, Our Values, Our Union