Union Says Haverhill Teachers Gaining Breakfast Duties Requires More Discussion

(File photograph.)

It’s nice to be asked.

Anthony J. Parolisi, a social studies teacher at Consentino School, is president of the Haverhill Education Association.

That’s the message the Haverhill Education Association is sending to the school department over elementary teachers now having to oversee student breakfasts. Teachers’ union President Anthony J. Parolisi says labor laws require the district to negotiate extra duties before imposing them on covered employees.

“We’re not opposed to feeding kids breakfast, but doing so the way the district designed is a fundamental change in some members’ working conditions,” Parolisi tells WHAV. “We prefer them to be teaching and not cleaning up breakfast spills.”

Parolisi says Superintendent Margaret Marotta promised teachers would be included in breakfast planning, but he didn’t find out until a week ago Thursday.

In an email Tuesday to Marotta and the full School Committee, Parolisi wrote, “The District has now implemented a change in working conditions without bargaining. This is a repudiation of our contract and I ask you cease this practice by this Friday. If the district intends to continue with the program without bargaining, the association has every intent of filing an Unfair Labor Practice…”

Specifically, he says, “teachers are being asked to do more, but there’s less time to do it.” First, only elementary teachers have the added tasks. Additional morning duties include a second roll call of students to determine who accepts breakfast, obtaining cleaning supplies, wiping down spills, keeping buckets in classroom for disposing of unfinished milk and waiting for custodians.

Parolisi says teachers are already working without a contract, but still worked extra hours this week to help with dismissals caused by busing problems. “They’re willing to do what their principals need, but they like to be appreciated.”

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