Teachers Support Staff (TSS) Vote in Favor of Labor Contract with BKW Schools

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Albany - New York - US

ALBANY, N.Y. - Feb. 12, 2014 - PRLog -- The contract agreement between Berne-Knox-Westerlo (BKW) and the Teachers Support Staff has been passed, increasing pay for teacher aides and teacher assistants over a nine-year period and bringing to an end a five-year-long stalemate between the TSS labor unit and the school district.

The agreement moves all TSS members to a more affordable health insurance (Empire Preferred Provider Option) plan and increases employee contributions from 13% to 19% for families and 5% to 9.5% for individuals hired after 2004. For employees hired prior to 2004 employees contributions will increase from 10.5% to 15% for a family and 3% to 7.5% for an individual.

“Estimated savings for the district per employee by the end of the contract is $3000 a year for a family plan with the newer less expensive but comparable plan and the higher employee contributions,” according to Lonnie Palmer, BKW’s Interim Schools Superintendent. BKW has two more labor contracts currently in negotiations that lapsed in 2009.

Some of the other components of the new TSS contract include:

·         A longer workday (one hour) for newly hired teacher aides and assistants and (15 minutes) longer for current aides and assistants.

·         A new position with a more competitive wage ($20,685 plus benefits) and career ladder opportunities for teaching assistants with teaching certification.

·         Higher starting salaries ($12,909 per year) for teacher aides and teaching assistants with required NYS teaching assistant certification and college credits ($14,643 per year).

·         Drug prescription copays for TSS members will change from $5 for generic drugs and $10 for brand name drugs to $4 for generic, $14 for preferred brand name drugs and $24 for non-preferred brand name drugs.

·         Retroactive pay raises that will come from the district’s solid fund balance.

“Going forward insurance savings offset a large portion of the salary increase for this group, especially with the layoffs of 4 employees from August 2013, which brought the district’s teacher aide and assistant numbers more in line with similar districts,” said Joan Adriance, President of the School Board.

In a letter to Mr. Palmer, one teacher aide called the agreement fair, and said it’s the first time in 18 years a superintendent admitted the teacher aides were “grossly underpaid.” She said she would never forget Mr. Palmer’s fair handling of the negotiations.

The other two contracts that have lapsed are between BKW and the BKW Teachers’ Association and the BKW Civil Service Employees’ Association.

For more information call Sheila Carmody (518) 366-6148.

Tags:Teachers, Common Core, Prek
Location:Albany - New York - United States
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