Haverhill Teachers Vote 310-146 In Favor of 3-Year Pact; About 6 3/4% Total Increases

Members of the Haverhill Education Association teachers' union during 2019 contract talks. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill teachers voted yesterday to ratify a new three-year agreement with city schools.

Members approved the pact 310-146, with Haverhill Education Association members casting ballots at individual schools. Union President Anthony J. Parolisi told WHAV ballot counting ending about 5:30 in the afternoon. He then sent emails to his members.

“…there’d be no contract to vote on if not for the support from dozens of members who participated in the most open rank-and-file bargaining process in our history and the hundreds of you who stood out and came out to support the negotiation team,” he told members.

The contract must still be ratified by the Haverhill School Committee, which is expected next Thursday.

Richard J. Rosa, chairman of the School Committee’s negotiating team, explains the new agreement provides raises of 1.75% in the current year, retroactive to July 1; 1.75% next year; and 2% during the final year. It also provides between 1 and 1 ¼ percent more in step increases for long-term, experienced teachers. The agreement additionally calls for $40,000 in tuition reimbursements and a $500 stipend for mentors to coach new teachers each year for up to two years.

School department estimates show each 1% increase costs the district about $500,000 over three years. The total school budget is about $89 million for 2019-2020.

Rosa praised union members, saying, “The teachers negotiating team worked hard on this in face-to-face meetings—18 or 19 meetings over the last 18 months.” The new pact, he says, makes Haverhill more competitive when recruiting teachers.

Approval of the contract was delayed a week over differences in how each side interpreted longevity pay provisions. Rosa says the problem covered 64 teachers and was resolved at a cost of about $66,000 more over three years.

Besides praising teachers for their advocacy and help, Parolisi singled out his predecessor Ted Kempinski for shepherding the process. In his email. He wrote, Kempinski “saw the potential of our collective power to be agents of change here in our community.”

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