Educators’ Union Plans Picket, Decries School Committee Raises

This story was updated to include a planned negotiating session Wednesday.

The union representing Haverhill public school teachers plans to campaign in the coming weeks for public awareness to a “new, fair contract for Haverhill’s educators.”

The Haverhill Education Association (HEA), representing teachers, clerical unit and education support personnel, also called attention to raises school committee members gave themselves and the superintendent.

“The HEA does not begrudge any of the system’s very hard working people raises no matter what their level and in fact applaud their being rewarded. We do however think it’s just to reward all and not just some,” union President Joseph V. Cunha told WHAV.

HEA is asking “all stakeholders—educators, parents, students, voters and property owners” to gather at City Hall prior to, among other sessions, Thursday’s School Committee meeting, according to an online message posted Sunday. The so-called “City Hall stand outs” are being held in the wake of HEA’s claim Haverhill teachers earn the lowest salaries in the region. They are also organizing a “call city hall” campaign to members of the school committee and city council.

“In the last contract, which took several years to negotiate, Haverhill teachers accepted a raise of 4.5% over 6 years, with three years of raises at 0%.  That agreement ended in June of 2014.  A year has since passed and the School Committee has given raises to administrators at virtually every level yet is offering Haverhill educators 0% for the year which is now nearly over and a paltry 1% for each of the next two,” the HEA said in a statement.

HEA leaders also noted raises school committee members gave themselves and Superintendent James F. Scully.

“The school committee increased its own expense accounts by 31 percent and gave raises to various administrators, including a 13 percent raise to the superintendent which brings his salary to over $200,000 per year.”

“At the top level of experience for each pay scale (based on education) Haverhill is already at the bottom when compared to our closest neighbors, the same districts which are Haverhill’s competition for highly-qualified teachers to fill open positions.  If Haverhill School Committee members want to attract and retain the best teachers the region has to offer, they must provide better compensation to Haverhill’s teachers.”

The teachers union has been seeking a contract agreement with the Haverhill public school district by the end of the current school year. A negotiating session is scheduled for 4 p.m., Wednesday, June. 10.

10 thoughts on “Educators’ Union Plans Picket, Decries School Committee Raises

  1. NOBODY should be ‘getting a raise” – anywhere – period. In the private sector raises today are a rarity, IF you get one at all – not to mention the higher costs of benefits people pay now – in LARGE part thanks to OBAMACARE that groups LIKE THE TEACHERS UNIONS endorse!

    I get a kick out of people who think that raises are coming on a continuous basis regardless of economic outlook (poor) You have to grow the economy first – and with the clowns teachers unions and others support at the local, state, and federal levels – that isn’t happening.

    • Absolutely the truth, Chairman….. In the dreaded private sector, employees are granted salary increases ONLY when the business can afford them. In lean times, NO RAISES — even for those who are deserving of them. Teachers should take the offer now on the table and consider themselves lucky!

  2. If the problem is a lack of funding, why did the superintendent, asst superintendent, special ed director and school committee get raises?????

  3. The problem is comparing what other city or towns pay. Haverhill is a poor city, being made poorer through deficit financing bonds, in a state where real median incomes have been in decline for almost 15 years (9% since 2001) while taxation has risen over 50% in the same time period. Poverty is running rampant, and Massachusetts is one of the top states in the country in income disparity, Haverhill being a perfect example. There is no organic PRODUCTION, the growth has been through monetary larceny or bribes by way of taxpayer support (i.e. “economic development”), something Rep. Brian Dempsey is very familiar with, with Mayor Jim being a beneficiary thereof. Case and point being Southwicks, where the owner told Mayor Jim if he didn’t receive his taxpayer subsidized bribe, he would leave. Brilliant.

    There are some good teachers and there are some bad ones (really good ones have simply left the District – See Mr. C and Mike Rossi), but we’re also faced with living in a city that have a lot of children with absentee parents, making it extremely difficult for teachers to actually do their job: Teach. In an ideal world, the good teachers would be paid well, and the bad ones banned from any classroom in the U.S. Unfortunately The City of Haverhill is not in control of it’s own destiny thanks to math – which if our “representation” had any skills in such, we would be here in this predicament in the first place.

    • Rich….as a matter of fact I have! Why do you ask?

      BTW Rich….Teachers not only work about 32 weeks out of every year, they also ‘work’ only about 4 hours a day…if that. Take a teacher making $50,000.00 year and add benefits and they make about $85.00/hour. There aren’t many part time jobs that pay that. Include the Ponzi scheme they’re in called their pension and is it any wonder cities all across the country are broke….especially Haverhill !!

      • You don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talking about. When were you a “teacher”—the 1960s? If you think it’s such a cushy, high-paying job, why aren’t you still doing it?

      • Jack, while the educational experiences that you have may show that a teacher only works 640+/- hours a year, I can assure you that is not the norm. I have a contracted work year of no less than 185 days. My 8 hour day consists of teaching my classes, a team meeting every other day for an hour, a duty on the opposite days for 86 minutes and unpaid after school obligations 2-3 days a week. The “non work time” is lunch and a prep period to grade, plan and meet with students. I routinely spend 20 hours a week outside of my contracted school day planning, grading and meeting with students for extra help because there is not enough time during the regular school day. So, while the personal experiences you have helped you generate your numbers, please do not think that is the norm across all schools.

  4. What makes teachers think that they automatically deserve a raise?


    If teachers were really motivated for a pay raise they’d do away with the system they currently have based on collective bargaining where everyone gets the same pay raise percentage and lobby for a performance based system. Why would a union teacher work harder than someone else when they get no additional financial compensation for doing so? Have you ever experienced many of the older teachers in the Haverhill school system? In the real world outside of union protections they would have been fired years ago for their lack of motivation and energy in their job performance. But they don’t have to worry because the union protects their jobs.

    And C’mon, be honest about what teacher jobs are….they only work 180 days a year. With 10 sick days a year and vacation time, most teachers don’t even work 160 days a year. That’s almost 100 days of work less than what people work in the private sector. Teaching is essentially a part time job. Teachers are already overpaid for the time they work.

    • I agree with you Jack…. What is it about teachers and other municipal employees that they don’t understand there is a limit to salary increases. Not only is it ridiculous to give everyone the same salary bump which destroys the incentive of a stupendous teacher to continue with the effort he/she is making to educate students, but the City of Haverhill simply can’t afford larger pay-outs.

      We, the taxpayers, are up to our eyeballs in taxes imposed upon us by the city, the state (plus the burden of unfunded mandates) and federal governments. AND, what about the unfunded health and pension liabilities that are looming out there PLUS the increase in the percentage of SPED students. Where do all of these employees expect the money to come from?

      Today it is the teachers; next comes the fire, police, etc. Where does it end, and when do we, the overburdened taxpayers say enough is enough.