School district, union group work towards collective bargaining agreement

Local News

The Saint Marys Area School District and the union for support staff employees have been trying to agree on a contract for a year and half.

At Saint Marys Area School Board meeting tonight, teacher’s aides, parents  and others spoke to the school board about why they don’t think a proposed collective bargaining agreement is fair for support staff workers.

Carla Cannon has worked as a teacher’s aide in the Saint Marys Area School district for twenty years. 
She helps students with mental or physical disabilities, and other tasks.

We assist the students even get from class to class if they have mobility issues, feeding, if we have some kiddos that need help with that and we follow the teacher’s direction and carry out any jobs that they would ask us to do, Cannon, said.
 
Monday night, she and other support staff workers in the state union group as well as community members shared concerns about outsourcing more jobs.
 
Cannon says four years ago the school district outsourced all 30 cafeteria workers in the district.
She’s worried that if outsourcing is included in the new contract the current 68 support staff workers could lose their jobs or their benefits.
 
I like my job, with outsourcing I’m going to lose my retirement, Cannon, said.
 
Outsourcing means support staff, like teacher’s aides, tutors and secretaries, would work for a new company instead of the school district.

Cannon says that company, could decide not to bring her back or deny her benefits.
Brian Toth, superintendent for SMASD, says that workers like Cannon would not have to worry about being outsourced.
 
The support staff currently working would and who wish to maintain working here, would be maintained by the district, and then whenever someone would retire or resign, then the district would look at that position, Toth, said.
 
He says they also want to help support staff employees’ with their salaries.
 
“Within a contract certainly, wages would increase, so that we can hire people at a better rate and you get better quality people for that, and then we can reward some of the folks that some this evening, Toth, said.
 
Monday night, the school board unanimously voted to start interest-based bargaining.  
This will add at least two school board members and two support staff workers with the union group,  to the negotiating teams. 
Each team will now have at least 4 members.
That negotiation is scheduled for July 18.

 
 

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