Haverhill Reaches Agreement with School Employees who Serve as Bus Drivers and Monitors

(File photograph.)

(An earlier draft of this story erroneously referenced an outside bus service.)

An agreement between city schools and the Service Employees International Union Local 888, representing some Haverhill bus drivers and monitors, gives those employees a choice of days off or pay for assisting with building cleaning.

City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. told the School Committee Thursday the new Memorandum of Understanding is necessary due to the unusual circumstances caused by COVID-19. For example, Cox pointed out, there is no need for buses on Wednesdays because schools are closed for cleaning.

“The agreement provides that starting next Wednesday, bus drivers and monitors will have the option of taking Wednesdays as an unpaid day, using available vacation or personal leave or reporting to an assigned school building to assist with the Wednesday deep cleaning of the building,” he said.

The agreement also covers how drivers are selected should they be needed on a Wednesday. It also provides for furloughs should schools be closed for a period of 15 working days. Cox said health insurance continues for employees who are willing to pay their share.

The Committee voted to support the agreement by a vote of 7-0.

In other news related to the coronavirus, Dr. John L. Maddox told the Committee that although the city remains in the red for the third straight week, he is encouraged by the continuing drop in the average daily incident rate.

He was asked by members if he thought there would be any chance of indoor sports this winter.

“So, it’s a balancing act like it’s always been. But, I think that I’m not opposed outright to trying to do some sports, but I think there’s some thought into which ones would you even try and we certainly have to respect if the cases go way up,” Maddox said.

School Superintendent Margaret Marotta added, so far at least, the system appears to be working and there has not been any spread of COVID-19 in the schools.

Also, at the meeting, Haverhill Education Association President, Anthony J. Parolisi confirmed the union voted 2-1 to ratify the memorandum of agreement between the members and the Haverhill school administration. The School Committee had ratified the pact earlier. (See earlier WHAV story.)

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