New Rochelle Schools Reaches Tentative Agreement with Union on One Year Contract, No Across the Board Pay Increases

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MartinDalyNEW ROCHELLE, NY -- FUSE, the bargaining unit representing pedagogical staff and SRPs (buildings and grounds staff) in the City School District of New Rochelle has reached a tentative settlement with the School District to present to its members.

In a FUSE newsletter sent earlier today, the union informed members that the proposed agreement is a one year contract effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.

Partial details of the agreement are as follows:

• There is no across-the-board raise for the 2014-2015 year. The salary tables remain unchanged for the 2014-2015 school year.

• Members who are eligible to advance a “step” on the salary schedule will do so.

• There is no change to members’ contributions to health insurance premiums.

• Commencing in their twenty third year of service, SRPs will receive a “longevity increment” of 3.5% of their applicable salary, exclusive of any additional stipends or differentials. (This is the same benefit pedagogic staff members receive in their 23rd year of service.)

• Adds language mandating that Teaching Assistants will receive a minimum of 40 minutes per day for lunch.

• Insures that elementary AMPEL teachers who teach more than 7 periods per day shall be compensated at the rate of $50 per period for any additional classes taught. This shall be computed by establishing a “base annual work load” of seven periods per day multiplied by the number of teaching days in a given year and then computing the number of periods in excess of the base annual work load. This payment will be made on an annual basis.

• Increases the number of days available for members to use for “bereavement leave.” Members may, if needed, access up to ten additional days, to be deducted from their accumulated sick time, for the death of a member of his/her immediate family. Appropriate documentation of the need for the time may be required. These ten days are in addition to the two “non- chargeable” days already available to staff upon the death of a family member.

• Increases days available for a member to care for a seriously ill family member. In addition to the six personal days a member already has access to, a member who has an accrual of 100 or more unused sick days may, after having exhausted their personal days and with appropriate documentation, request to use up to ten additional days (to be deducted from the member’s sick days) where circumstances necessitate the member’s presence at the bedside of a seriously ill spouse, partner, child or parent. This change does not limit the right of any member to take unpaid leave as provided for by the Family Medical Leave Act.

• Expands the number of credits for “online courses” a member may take for salary advancement from 9 to 18 credits. The district’s Professional Development Committee will develop a syllabus of approved online courses and/or institutions / which will enable members to take these courses without having to obtain any additional authorization. Teachers taking courses from this list of approved courses/institutions shall be able to apply such courses to any or all of the eighteen credit minimum of university graduate credit required for salary advancement so long as the course work is relevant to the teacher’s area of instruction and are non-duplicative of other course work already completed.

• Revises and improves the due process rights of SRPs, insuring “progressive discipline” and binding arbitration when a member faces serious disciplinary action against him/her.

• The district has committed $50,000 to the creation of an Employee Assistance Program. Such program would be designed to help members who are in need of support during difficult circumstances particularly as related to substance abuse/addictions, social, emotional or psychological problems.

"Despite the fact that there is no across-the-board raise for staff, this one-year agreement secures several benefits for members that have been among the most frequently made suggestions offered to the negotiations team by our colleagues over the years," said FUSE President Martin Daly. "These benefits include the longevity increment for our SRPs, increasing the days available to members for bereavement leave or to care for seriously ill family member, and dramatically increasing the number of online credits members may use for salary advancement."

In an newsletter sent to FUSE members earlier today, Daly explained that the Board refused to fund both step advancements and an across the board raise this year. Forced to choose between an across the board increase for all members and both a step increase for roughly one-third of the members and longevity increment for SRPs, the union chose the latter.

Daly said the proposed one-year deal is similar to deals in other school districts in the region.

"Failure to ratify this agreement would mean that there would still be no across-the-board raise in September," warned Daly, "but all of the other gains obtained by the union in this agreement would be lost as well."

Members will vote by secret ballot at their schools/worksites on Wednesday, June 25. Details regarding the vote as well as any general membership meetings to discuss the contract will be announced in the coming days.

UPDATE: "The CSDNR will not be issuing a statement regarding the tentative contract agreement with FUSE," said New Rochelle Schools spokesperson Tanya Hunt.

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