City Tells Teachers to Work Longer Hours and Expect Lower Wages

Haverhill Education Association (HEA) President Lisa R. Begley, Haverhill High School health and physical education instructor.

Haverhill Education Association (HEA) President Lisa R. Begley, Haverhill High School health and physical education instructor.

Educators are rejecting the city’s proposal of no pay raises for last year, 1 percent this year and 1.5 percent next year. The matter could end up being settled during non-binding arbitration.

The Haverhill Education Association (HEA), representing teachers, clerical unit and education support personnel, and the school committee’s negotiating team have agreed to present their best and final contract offers in September.

“Generally speaking, the school committee is reluctant to increase its monetary offer,” said Ted Kempinski, HEA’s first vice president and negotiation committee chairman, in an update to union members. “They stand firm on a zero percent increase for last year because no money was budgeted for that increase nor is there any plan for there to be in the future. As for the 2015-2016 school year the school committee indicates there is room in the budget for a one percent increase and that is all. Currently, in the final year of the contract they have offered a one and a half percent increase. This appears to be the only year that they might increase but they are hesitant to do so because they are unable to anticipate other increases.”

By comparison, the Social Security Administration calculated cost of living increases to be 1.5 percent in January, 2014, and 1.7 percent in 2015.

Earlier this week, School Committee President Scott W. Wood Jr. told WHAV the talks are “making progress.” He said he expects talks to resume Sept. 9

HEA proposes to accept zero percent for the first year, but seeks a 2.5 percent hike for the 2015-2016 school year and 2.5 percent raise the following year. The last teachers’ contract expired at the end of June, 2014. As of their July meeting, Kempinski said, there are other areas of contention.

City Proposes Longer School Day

“Major concerns exist” about proposed changes to preparation period language, an earlier start of the school day and creating teacher-directed tutoring periods at the high school, he said.

“The HEA negotiation team continues to explain that a contract that includes any of these changes is unacceptable,” Kempinski said. “These areas either increase the instructional school day without further compensation or give away control of vital educational preparation time.”

Last week, a post on HEA’s Facebook page called upon the city to “step up to the plate” in response to a tentative contract agreement for firefighters. “These men and women put their lives at risk every day and deserve the raise they were able to negotiate with the city. Now it's up to the city to step up to the plate and do the same for its teachers,” a spokesperson said.

As late as June, members took part in so-called “city hall stand-out” public rallies, calling 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,” former union President Joseph V. Cunha told WHAV at the time.

7 thoughts on “City Tells Teachers to Work Longer Hours and Expect Lower Wages

  1. It us just unbelievable that the city is still treating the teachers so poorly…they are our children’s future!! Even retired teachers got a 3 percent raise!!!

    • Cheryl

      Almost NO ONE is receiving wage increases in this economy – why is it Teachers somehow think they are the exception to the rule when it comes to raises? I know plenty of hardworking people in the private sector who have not received a raise in well over 3-4 years. I hate that somehow teachers don’t understand this – and if they continue to threaten to strike etc – they should be fired immediately – the kids and families have no time for this crap.

  2. As we enter the next phase of economic fraud upon The People of Haverhill, maybe now they will understand Haverhill is not in control of its own destiny. The who and why no longer matter, the consequences of financial engineering are coming home to roost. Specifically, deficit spending ALWAYS reduces future production through carried forward demand, not because anyone says so, but because of middle school mathematics.

    In this era of deflation, with a continued expansion of credit emission, it really doesn’t matter what state you live in. It is only compounded by the moronic decisions of continued monetary fraud against you and your families. Haverhill is special in the sense that Representative Brian Dempsey allows this fraud, only appearing sustainable through his power of taking what is not his.

    As this economic black hole continues to grow, through more bond issuance that can not mathematically be paid, your suffering will continue to grow. It is unfortunate that most in the media do not have the intelligence to report this simple math and its consequences on their own, and even if the few who do, for whatever reason will never report it. Is this the end? Of course not, Massachusetts has already surpassed its asset level versus its DEBT levels, only enabled through financial engineering and Beacon Hill criminals. Haverhill is at the forefront because of its deficit spending and “matured” pension system, maybe the best and brightest already figured this out and left?

    Money and power is all that remains (see Marty “Term Limits” Meehan, The Fish Family), but is The Citizenry that will pay for the extreme cronyism and nepotism, not just in this city, but this state. Until The People take a stand, they will simply never be able to gain ground., not because if what I think or say, but because of simple math. Maybe someday we will actually see some sound integrity in reporting in this regard. Until then, in this LAWLESS era, you will fall prey to rhetoric, lying, confirmation bias, ignorance, or simple cognitive dissonance. Good luck.

    https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1AkT
    https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1AkW

  3. That headline is really no different than the message that 99% of average workers in America receive everyday – there are no “raises” lately almost anywhere.

    And, for what it’s worth – in looking at the picture posted – quite a few of these teachers look like they should start hitting the salad bar once in awhile and start staying away from the Golden Coral Buffet.

  4. Typical at all levels of government, do all you can to eliminate the workers(unions) from any bargaining position, give outrageous salaries to those in management positions (superintendent) and expect the people who care for, teach, comfort, and provide the emotional support that their parents in many cases don’t or have no interest in providing.
    The Scott Walker approach to keep all the best for those on the top, and the hell with everybody else! You wonder why so many of the condo/apartment living influx if at all possible send their children out of the Haverhill school system.

  5. Joe Cunha is correct…raises should be for all city workers..not some. If the teachers have to work longer hours and for less pay….so should all city workers,no exclusions!