July 19, 2022

New SRP contracts eye recruitment and retentions

Author: Ben Amey
Source:  NYSUT Communications

Local unions recently scored substantial wins for SRPs in Berne-Knox-Westerlo, Chittenango, Fayetteville-Manlius, Pioneer, and Watervliet. The new contracts are the result of intense contract negotiations, or renegotiations, between local unions, with support from their NYSUT labor relations specialists, and the districts.

The Berne-Knox-Westerlo Teacher Support Staff, led by co-presidents Brenda Dibble and Diane Chrysler, negotiated a contract extension a year before their contract was up. The contract includes raises of 4.5 percent each year from 2023-24 to 2026-27, with one dollar per hour raises in 2024-25 and 2026-27 as well. By the end of the contract, minimum salaries for aides will be $19.13 an hour and will be $21.26 per hour for teaching assistants. The negotiated contract also includes increased longevity payments.

In Chittenango, the current contract was amended to raise pay an additional 2 percent retroactive to January of 2022. Returning aides received a 10 percent pay increase on July 1, and returning teacher assistants received an additional $1,500 added to their base pay, which works out to an increase of about 6 percent. There were no givebacks to achieve these increases. The Chittenango School Related Professionals Association is led by Alyssa Chizzonite.

The Fayetteville-Manlius Aides and Assistants, led by Linda Wiggins, negotiated an agreement to raise base pay by 3.9 percent per year for three years. In addition to that increase, a new longevity structure was also negotiated for teaching assistants of $80 per year of service. This bumped the actual average percent increase of the contract to 10.63 percent in 2022-23, 4.8 percent in 2023-24, and 4.03 percent in 2024-25 for teaching assistants, and 5.83 percent, 4.15 percent, and 4.14 percent each of those respective years for aides.

In Pioneer, the local negotiated a contract that resulted in a 15 to 19 percent increase in the first year for 80 percent of the unit. The contract also added raises for years of service, and base increases for each year of the contract. Also included were longevity awards, doubling of teaching assistant stipends for achieving new levels of certification, increases in rates for members who sub for teachers, and increases in maximum payout of accumulated sick leave days upon retirement. The Pioneer Auxiliary Association is led by Alice Smith.

The Watervliet Support Staff Association, led by Geraldine Ferris, renegotiated their current contract to add an additional year and provide a number of pay and quality of life improvements. As of July 1, there was a 20 percent one-time pay increase for clerical staff, a 20 to 30 percent one-time pay increase for teaching assistants and hourly aides, and a 3.5 percent pay increase for all each year of the contract. It also includes an annual stipend of $4,000 for LPNs and $8,000 for RNs.

“These contract wins for our locals prove that we will continue to fight for our SRP siblings to get them better working conditions and more respect from districts,” said NYSUT Second Vice President Ron Gross, whose office oversees SRP issues. “We are facing historic shortfalls of SRP staff members statewide. Only by appreciating their hard work and dedication can we reverse this trend.”