November 16, 2018

 

Woonsocket, RI - Superintendent Patrick McGee cancelled school today due to the large amount of teachers that called out sick last night.   “I can only speculate on the reason why so many people have called out on this day,” stated Roxane Cary, Executive Vice President of the Woonsocket Teachers’ Guild. “This year has been taxing for every public school teacher and paraprofessional in the city. After several months of ongoing contract negotiations that ended in an impasse, we entered into mediation. But, after three meetings, mediation hasn’t allowed us to move forward as much as we had hoped.  It just doesn’t appear that the City’s negotiation team is interested in giving us a fair and reasonable contract. This lack of respect from the City over the past year has lead to an increasing amount of stress being placed on our membership, and this stress can take the form of physical illness.”

The City’s Negotiation team will end its participation in these proceedings once the new School Committee takes office next month.  Ms. Cary went on to say, “Our membership is a group of hard-working people; but stress is seen at all levels, in every school, because they work with no contract.  We hope this changes once the School Committee comes to the table.  We hope to get a fair deal.”

FYI

Woonsocket Teachers’ Guild.

Giveback History

Spring 2006. We negotiated a 3-year contract with a 10.5% raise over the course of those three years, 3%, 3.5%, 4%.  On the last day of the contract in 2009, the base salary would increase by 1.5%. This was agreed upon because the Fire and Police contracts included a 12% pay increase over this three-year period and it was thought fair by all involved that the teachers should receive the same.

Spring 2008. Woonsocket Schools were level funded by the State, and the City increased their contribution by only $300,000. This left the city to be in a deficit due to rising costs.  The WTG renegotiated our contract in order to help the city.

  • We agreed to receive a 2% raise in the fall of 2008 and an additional 2% raise in the Spring of 2009. In essence, we gave up 1% of our negotiated raises ($350,000), 
    • That 1% was deferred, to be paid back anytime in the next 5 years.
    • As of this date, we have not received this back.
  • We agreed to a pay freeze at this 2009 level until June 2011.
  • We agreed to defer the 1.5% increase (about $500,000) that was supposed to be added to our basis in June of 2009.

Spring 2009. The State once again announced cuts for the 2009-2010 school year.  This put Woonsocket in a deficit of about $5 million. At this point, the Woonsocket Education Department offered competitive salaries when compared to other cities in the state. Once again, we opened our contract, and renegotiated. This contract expired June 30, 2013.  In that renegotiation we gave back approximately $3.6 Million annually.

  • We agreed to keep the salary frozen at the 2009 level until 2013.
  • We gave up claims to the two (2) deferments agreed upon in Spring 2008.
  • We changed to a $500/$1000 deductible healthcare plan and everyone went to a 20% co-pay (highest in the state).

Spring 2013. The budget commission came to Woonsocket. Clearly, the City was in crisis, and at this point, those of us at tenth step were making less than most top step teachers in the state.  Despite this, we agreed to a 5-year contract to help the city.

  • We received the 1.5% increase in our base that was deferred in the Spring of 2008. In actuality, this was swallowed up by rising health care cost.
  • We agreed to keep the salary frozen at this level until 2017.
  • In the 2017-2018 school year, we received a 2% raise. 
  • In June 2018, the basis was increased by 2% by the Budget Commission as acknowledgment that we had made considerable concessions.

In short, the raises we received between 2009 - 2017 were:

‘09-’10

‘10-’11

‘11-’12

‘12-’13

0%

0%

0%

0%

 

‘13-’14

‘14-’15

‘15-’16

‘16-’17

0%

0%

0%

0%

 

And, per the negotiations from 2013, this is what was given in 2017-2018.

 

‘17-’18

June 2018

2%

2%

 

Summer 2018. Top step teachers, which comprise 60% of our members, are still the lowest paid in the state.  At this time, Woonsocket has improved its financial standing because of what we have sacrificed and given back since the Spring of 2008 (see chart above); and because the local contribution to education has remained the same since 2013.  We came to an impasse in contract negotiations because what was offered was not an appropriate response to all that we’ve done to help this city. 

Our history speaks for itself.  There is no spin; there is simply the truth.

 

Roxane Cary, Executive Vice-President

Woonsocket Teachers' Guild, Local 951

401-769-5320

 

NBC News confirms that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's [[ MULL-er's ]] report on the Russia probe will not be presented to the Justice Department next week. A senior official at the DOJ says reports that the Attorney General will receive the report from the Special Counsel by the end of next week are incorrect. It is unclear what information if any from the report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election will be released to the public.        President Trump vows to veto any congressional resolution that aims to block his declaration of a national emergency at the southern border. Speaking at the White House today, Trump again argued that the U.S. needs a border wall. House Democrats plan to vote on a resolution of disapproval next week. Under the emergency declaration, Trump hopes to divert Defense Department funds to help build a massive border wall.        President Trump says the U.S. Ambassador to Canada is his nominee to be America's next top diplomat at the United Nations. Kelly Craft has been Ambassador to Canada since October of 2017. If confirmed, she'll succeed former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley to the United Nations post.       President Trump is condemning any election fraud, wherever it may occur. At the White House today, Trump was pressed about the disputed election in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District. The state elections board has ordered a new election after an operative for a Republican candidate allegedly tampered with mail-in ballots.        Fans of the New England Patriots are dealing with the news that the team's owner, Robert Kraft, is accused of soliciting prostitutes in Florida. Some of them are standing by Kraft. Others say the accusations only give people who resent the Patriots another reason not to like the team. Police claim Kraft was captured on video engaging in sex acts with a worker at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Florida. He owns property in Palm Beach.        There's plenty of perks that come with being nominated for an Oscar aside from winning the award. Among those is the gift bag for those nominated, which includes vacations, VIP memberships, jewelry and beauty products, reportedly valued at over 100-grand. The largest gift is a luxury small-ship adventure to one of four places like Costa Rica or the Amazon.