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Negotiation Update from Narly Bedoya, Election Chair   

 

November 15, 2021

Dear Federation Brothers and Sisters:

Bargaining negotiations with the district are going very badly. As I write this, I’m seething with anger at the ridiculous suggestions from the district. To put it mildly, I feel immensely disrespected by management. They’re unwilling to provide a living wage even though a member of their own negotiation team admitted that we’re underpaid! This is so upsetting. Quite frankly, I’m insulted. We haven’t received a raise in over 2 years. We should be getting a substantial raise based on inflation alone!

How on Earth can they believe that we’re being paid a competitive wage? Many paraprofessionals must work a second job, if not a third, just to make ends meet. I don’t understand the district. On the one hand, they’re willing to praise us for all that we do, but on the other hand they’re more concerned with penny pinching when it comes to our contract (while I‘m sure their bargaining team members are earning quadruple my wages, if not more). Their priorities are out of whack and their verbal praise is utterly meaningless.

I just looked at my earnings from last year and was disgusted. I’ve worked as a para-educator for the Springfield Public Schools for 16 years. Despite my hard work and years of experience, I only made $25,353.75. This is outrageous! We are frontline workers in the classroom. We wear many hats and work under great pressure every day. I must deal with students who come into the classroom without masks. Even though the district is supposed to provide PPE to the schools, my building hasn’t received any masks so I’ve used my own personal money to provide masks for my students. I have students who tell me they’re depressed and want to die on a regular basis. I work in an elementary school for heaven’s sake. It’s clear that the district has no clue what goes on in the classroom.

It doesn’t seem like management is serious about settling our contract when they make such unrealistic and inadequate offers.

We need to band together to get what we deserve. We have a couple events coming up that I hope you’ll attend.

On December 2nd during the school day “Wear Blue” day to support Unit D and at 6:00 pm support our speakers at the School Committee Speak Out by signing into your YouTube account, going to the School Committee Meeting on the Focus Springfield page, and commenting in the public comment section that we need a living wage now.

On December 9th at 4:00 pm zoom with us to discuss what you can do to make our living wage campaign a reality. Please email mastronardic@comcast.net for the link.

In solidarity,

Narly Bedoya

Negotiation Chair

Para-educator

Springfield Public Day Elementary School

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Negotiation Update from Karen Carney, Political Action & Legislative Chair, Negotiation Team Member

November 18, 2021

Dear Federation Brothers and Sisters:

I am writing you this morning because I was very concerned with how the negotiations went on November 10th. I found I was very disgusted, insulted and disrespected with the Springfield Public Schools Chief Negotiator and other members of their negotiating team.

They don’t realize the everyday struggles and all the hard work we go through. We deserve a living wage!

They have not offered a counter proposal and instead compare our wages with neighboring school districts and claim we have competitive wages. That is not reality. The reality is here in Springfield we struggle every day to make ends meet, pay our bills and feed our families. Many members of our union have second and third jobs just to make ends meet. How can we continue to feel respected and valued when we don’t make a living wage?

Everyone needs to know about the struggles we are go through when we are negotiating and the humiliation we have to endure when they tell us we have to settle for a 32-cent raise.

We need to unite and fight for our rights to have a decent paycheck to support our families.

I am so upset and beside myself trying to figure out how to continue to show up to my job and do my best by these children when the district cannot and will not do right by us. Every day we are struggling with the social emotional issues the children are carrying from staying home and going through a pandemic.

 

I love my job, I love my school, I love the people I work with, but I’m tired of living from paycheck to paycheck because no matter how much coverage I do or how many lunches I do I still don’t make enough money.

We need to spread the word so we can unite and fight together to get what we deserve.

On December 2nd during the school day “Wear Blue” day to support Unit D and at 6:00 pm support our speakers at the School Committee Speak Out by signing into your YouTube account, going to the School Committee Meeting on the Focus Springfield page, and commenting in the public comment section that we need a living wage now.

On December 9th at 4:00 pm zoom with us to discuss what you can do to make our living wage campaign a reality. Email mastronardic@comcast.net for the link.

In solidarity,

Karen Carney

Para-educator

Glenwood Elementary School

 

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Negotiation Update from Kim Thompson, 1st Vice President, Negotiation Team Member

November 22, 2021

Dear Federation Brothers and Sisters:

The November 10th negotiations were very frustrating.

The Chief Negotiator, left me feeling very undervalued and upset. He definitely understands this job is our passion, our calling etc.. He is deluded in the fact he expects us to accept the small raises because most of us love our jobs. What he doesn’t seem to understand is a 2% raise, as he suggested, no longer puts enough food on our table, gas in our cars, oil in our furnaces. Either he does not believe us or our words has no impact on him.

I think the School Committee need to hear from every Unit D Member, explaining that we can no longer afford to work if we are not paid a living wage.

Perhaps he needs to see that the 740 union members of the Springfield Federation of Paraprofessionals stand behind us at every negotiation session.

On December 2nd during the school day “Wear Blue” day to support Unit D and share your pictures on social media with the hashtags #LivingWageNow, #2PercentDontMakeADent and #RespectUsRespectOurWork. At 6:00 pm support our speakers at the School Committee Speak Out by signing into your YouTube account, going to the School Committee Meeting on the Focus Springfield page, and commenting in the public comment section #LivingWageNow, #2PercentDontMakeADent and #RespectUsRespectOurWork.

On December 9th at 4:00 pm zoom with us to discuss what you can do to make our living wage campaign a reality. Email mastronardic@comcast.net for the link.

In solidarity,

Kim Thompson

Para-educator

High School of Science and Technology

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Local 4098 Member of the Month

November 2021

Mary Cadieux

Mary Cadieux has been a member of the Springfield Federation of Paraprofessionals since she began working at the Springfield Public Schools on February 12, 1996. Mary works as a Para-educator at Arthur T. Talmadge Elementary School.

Patricia Gregoire, Building Representative at Talmadge nominated Mary. She writes "I would like to submit Mary Cadieux’s name from Talmadge Elementary as the Local 4098 Member of the Month recipient.

I have had the pleasure of working with Mary for the past five years. We had previously worked together with the Links program and although I have moved to another position in the building, I see daily how Mary works and interacts with her students. She is caring, compassionate, loving and kind. She has a very genuine way of working with her students. Her classroom teachers, both past and present are fortunate to have Mary as their classroom para. Mary goes above and beyond to ensure that her students receive the special care, attention, and education that they require to move forward in their education.

This is Mary’s 25th year as a Springfield Paraprofessional and Talmadge Elementary school is fortunate to have Mary as a staff member."

"Mary is a WONDERFUL woman who has a love for these children. She is kind hearted and loving. She comes to work each day with a smile on her face ready to love these children. It has been a pleasure to work with her these last 2 years. She is always willing to help and is a value to our classroom! She brings lots of laughter too!" writes Arielle Duguet, classroom teacher.

Congratulations Mary and thank you for Making A Difference

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The AFT has launched a new benefit made available at no cost to all active working members of AFT.  Trauma Counseling provides up to 21 hours of counseling for members experiencing trauma of many types – but also including secondary trauma. 

 

Secondary trauma within the context of this benefit is the emotional duress that results when an individual hears about the firsthand trauma experiences of another. This secondary trauma can also be known as compassion fatigue.

 

Our members across the country experience this secondary trauma every day in every way—never more so than in the last 18 months. And we know that the coming year will be even tougher and want them to know the AFT and their local union are here for them.

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You can watch the School Committee Meetings live on Comcast-Channel 17 in Springfield or on YouTube on the Focus Springfield Channel Focus Springfield Community TV - YouTube

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Nominate a Local 4098 Member to be the Member of the Month

 

Do you know a member of our unit who goes above and beyond?  Would you like to nominate that person for recognition within our local? 

 

We would like to acknowledge a single member of our unit on a monthly basis for their contributions to our members and our local.  

 

Use this link to nominate a member and tell us a little about why you think we should recognize them as the "Local 4098  Member of the Month ". 

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Springfield Federation of Paraprofessionals