The United Teachers of Lowell represent all Lowell Teachers , Paraprofessionals ,Building Services Employees (custodians) and Cafeteria Workers. The Library Aides are represented by SEIU local 888
Above are the most recent contracts I can locate for these unions. The School Dept does not update contracts just seem to add amendments so the Para’s contract label 2016 is a 2 pager which calls out a 3.25% increase over the July 2014-June 2016 time frame. The one above that is a copy of the entire contract which I had to search to find.
I can only locate the Local 888 contract that covers the July 2014- June 2016 time frame which calls for just a 2% increase over that time frame. Local 888 Library aides contract is NOT posted at all. I had to find the school committee meeting that approved it to get that copy.
Last Wednesday in the proposed 2017/2018 budget presented to the School Committee was a plan to basically eliminate the Library aides and transfer their employees over to become Para’s a “realignment” has it was called. It realigns people out of local 888 and into the UTL union.
The statements that surprised me were made by the Asst. Supt. Finance who stated around the 52:30 mark of the meeting if you go to LTC and watch it was that “11 schools use the Library aides “has intended for their job descriptions” while 12 schools currently use Library Aids for “other purposes”. He further states that the current job description for library aides prohibits them from working directly with students without teachers present.
Around the 54 minute mark the Superintendent states that there are 12 schools who use current library aides in “different roles”. He says more than half are using them in a different way and basically states that being a para isn’t really changing what they currently do. He even said that Principals who are currently violating the current Library aides contract spoke to the ones using them within the contract to teach them how to use them in violation like they do.
Okay so in public meeting the Supt. of Schools admits that you have people performing duties outside the scope and language of their current contract and may even have them working with students without a teacher present despite the prohibited language in the current contract and that you have them in essence currently performing Para’s duties without them being a member of the Para’s union.
I heard the UTL President state he wasn’t aware that was currently going on. I can’t believe a member of the Lowell School Committee didn’t say the same. Did they know that people were doing work outside their contract specifications? The last School Committee fought grievances that were filed because people thought they were doing work outside the language in the contract and ended up paying over $800,000 because of contract violations and yet when they hear the Asst. Supt. and Superintendent state this is going on no School Committee member seems upset or ask for clarification?
Seemingly opening up and holding the door wide open and inviting grievances to be filed.
Two separate unions are involved, one has employees doing work outside their job description the other has people doing the work that should be done by a member of their union and the administration starting with the school principals are allowing this to go on with the Superintendents full knowledge and apparently full support and up until Wednesday night he didn’t see the need to mention this to the School Committee? or Union leaders?
If I recall he didn’t notify the School Committee when the Administrators Union had an issue with the realigned parking locations that resulted in an unfair labor practice charge against the City.
So he admits he is basically condoning violating two contracts, while proposing eliminating one union whose members are currently performing duties not in their contract and allowing them to perform duties covered under the contract of a different union and no one expects grievances to not only be filed but easily lost because these comments were in a public meeting stored for everyone to go and listen to?
My dad was a Union Steward who fought hard representing his members at the post office for many many years and from hearing him and seeing him defending contract violations I can’t believe these two unions won’t file grievances. Paul Georges reminds me of my father, his focus is solely on doing his best for the group he represents regardless of the cost to the city or school department and I cannot believe he will not use this information to his full advantage.
This School Committee presently doesn’t have a current contract with any union represented by the UTL or a contract with Local 888 SEIU who represent the Library aides, yet allows contract violations to go on and allows their newly contracted Superintendent and his Asst. Supt. of Finance to tell the public and Union Presidents about this during a public televised hearing.
What could go wrong with that??