Haverhill Educators Win Backing from Some of Their Bosses in Contract Renewal Talks

Kristen Segan and Maureen Zuber thank Eileen Doherty for her support with a dozen Crumbl cookies and an official #HEASTRONG t-shirt. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill’s educational support professionals, whose contract expired almost a year ago, are getting some help from their bosses in their quest for higher pay.

Silver Hill School Principal and Assistant Principal Scott Gray and Brendan Parker and Dr. Paul Nettle School Assistant Principal Eileen O. Doherty backed the staff—known as ESPs for short—in written letters to the Haverhill School Committee.

“Although we are not participants of the Collective Bargaining Committee that is currently meeting with the School Committee, we remain hopeful that an agreement can be met soon so that ESPs will be paid more than they currently earn and we will potentially avoid losing talented individuals who are unable to maintain their roles with the current salaries,” Gray and Parker wrote in their joint letter. During the pandemic, they noted, ESPs “provided flexibility, dedication and commitment to doing whatever the school has asked them to do to ensure that education continues while keeping students and staff safe.”

While the Silver Hill administrators didn’t mention the Haverhill Education Association’s “Living Wage Now! Campaign” by name, Doherty zeroed in on it in her letter. “I support the Haverhill ESPs in their fight for a fair contract, and hope to see the School Committee and its bargaining team give them the fair living wage they deserve.,” she wrote.

Doherty, who was first to go public, said “More than half of the ESPs in the district receive or qualify for public assistance. As an administrator, I find this unacceptable, because I know that the work they do every day goes above and beyond what the current salary is for them.”

In an email to members as April school vacation week was starting, union President Anthony J. Parolisi said he has learned other administrators have also spoken up for the workers in private with Superintendent Margaret Marotta and School Committee members. Parolisi said, “…all of which continues to demonstrate both the legitimacy and urgency of our cause.”

Bargaining resumes Wednesday, April 28. The following day, union members plan a standout at City Hall before the School Committee meeting.

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