Board of Ed has not negotiated fairly

To the Editor:

I take issue with Jim Feehan's statement, "[e]veryone deserves an increase, who's doing their job properly," Feehan said. "These are non-union employees who have a lot less benefits than the union employees and they're deserving of an increase just like anyone else."

He is incorrect or it’s an outright lie. My husband has been a union employee of the Board of Education for 31 years - a custodian. He went without a contract and without a raise because these "professionals" would not negotiate fairly. Their benefits are not over and above - they get paid sick time, vacation, health care coverage.

Most of the time their annual increase is less than a cost of living adjustment and doesn’t even cover what the increase for health care premiums are. They are paid pennies compared the administration. Sure, some pensions, but they’ve paid into it for years. They also must put more into their health savings accounts, while non-union puts less. Many maxed out on step increases, so they only get whatever their contract states for an annual raise. Many years, it was 1% or 1.5%, while administration got more, including annuities or stipends.

Don't be fooled. The collective bargaining agreements for all Board of Ed union employees are on the Board of Ed website - read them for yourselves. If they call the clothing allowance or longevity extra benefits over and above what non-union receive - let's see what the stipends for those non-union employees amount to. Feehan should post those.  I’d like to know what benefits Feehan is talking about.

I also take issue with Feehan’s comment that Center School only had 37 students. That was true for this past school year only because John Harkins’ attempted takeover by force last August 2015 when he gave the BOE two weeks to evacuate the building. Before that, the building housed several programs and had over 100 or more students in it. His statement is a way to make keeping the building senseless. It only became that way because of John Harkins and his crack Economic Development department.

Patricia C. Sperling