School Administration, Union Return to Bargaining April 15

HEA President Joseph Cunha.

Leaders of the Haverhill public school district and the local teachers union are scheduled to return to the negotiating table April 15 to work toward a new collective bargaining agreement.

The Haverhill school committee’s negotiating team for teachers will meet with representatives of the Haverhill Education Association (HEA) at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 15, in the school administration office conference room at Haverhill City Hall, according to Haverhill Public Schools Superintendent James F. Scully.

Dozens of HEA members packed the city council chambers at City Hall during the school committee’s March 26 meeting as Tim Briggs, a sixth grade teacher, parent and resident, presented a petition of more than 500 names asking for a new contract agreement by the end of the current school year.

He emphasized the union leadership and Haverhill Education Association (HEA) members are “one and the same,” explaining the school department’s “Alert Now” messages to parents and some news organizations have implied otherwise. He presented the petition to school committee members and read the petition aloud.

“Settling a new contract before the end of this school year is important to all of us. Work with the HEA bargaining team and settle a fair contract now,” said Briggs.

HEA President Joseph Cunha explained to WHAV why the union decided to act now.

“Over the course of this year the negotiations have really not progressed. We go and we have meetings, but really nothing has come out of them,” he said.

The current contract expired last June 30. Besides teachers, Cunha said, the school department must begin talking to clerical unit and education support personnel.

“The ESPs and clerical units, they should have been bargaining right along with us since last year, but it’s as if they are dragging their feet. They still have yet to meet once with those people.”

“We’re hoping the school committee gets the message that all of their employees are fed up with them dragging their feet and stonewalling and that they work to give us a fair contract now.”