Haverhill Public Schools’ security guards have joined the Haverhill Education Association—the union that already represents teachers, education support professionals and clerical staff.
The 13 new members were admitted to the union following a November ruling from the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations. Haverhill Education Association President Anthony J. Parolisi said the city did not oppose the unionization.
“HEA members are the heart of our school community and the security guards play a vital role in that community. They are essential educational support professionals and, like all our school staff, they deserve fair working conditions, including a living wage and job security,” he said.
Each Haverhill middle school has a security guard. There are also several at the high school and some assigned to elementary schools.
While other large school districts in the state have extended security guards and other safety professionals collective bargaining rights, Haverhill did not try to unionize until this year. Parolisi explained the decision was driven by the pandemic, noting “Our security guards are being asked to do more and didn’t feel like they had a voice in all the changes.”
Parolisi said the guards approached the union this fall.
The School Committee appointed members Scott W. Wood Jr. and Maura L. Ryan-Ciardiello to negotiate with the new group. Parolisi said he is hopeful talks will begin next month.
The union is still at the bargaining table for two other groups of workers—school secretaries and educational support professionals.