- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Just in time for the presentation of the fiscal 2014 budget, the Calvert Association of Educational Support Staff has signed a contract that will give their employees their first raise in years.
CAESS and the Calvert County Board of Education’s negotiating team exchanged proposals Tuesday for more than nine hours before signing a contract at 9:36 p.m. The two sides have been negotiating since November 2012. The end result includes a salary article in which all support staff employees are repositioned on a compressed salary scale at their next highest step.
Once an employee has been repositioned, he or she is then given one additional step forward. All support staff employees are also receiving a 1 percent cost of living salary adjustment, or COLA — the same COLA recently negotiated for CCPS teachers.
Additionally, CAESS employees no longer eligible for step increases will receive a pensionable salary adjustment of 1 percent for fiscal 2014.
CAESS Chief Negotiator Joseph Sella said the value of the entire salary package was equal to about a 4 percent raise for the upcoming school year.
“We’re pretty happy people finally have stuff in their pockets. The board is finally recognizing the hard work our members are putting in,” Sella said.
He said he was also pleased that there were no changes to the health care or sick leave articles. Sella said the majority of changes in the other articles are just clarifications.
“It’s a workable contract,” he said.
There was added language to the contract stating that if an employee voluntarily applies for a posted vacancy and accepts the position, the employee is not eligible to apply for another voluntary transfer for a period of nine months.
There was also added language stating that school nurses may be required to work up to a maximum of 21 additional hours — the equivalent of three days — per school year to fulfill job responsibilities regarding student records, registration and immunizations. For this additional time, the nurses will be compensated at their usual hourly rate.
CAESS President Marvin Stewart said support staff will likely start voting to ratify the contract next week.
“I’m sure we’ll probably ratify it,” said Stewart, who said he expected union members to be happy that they’re finally seeing their paychecks growing.
“Any time you can get money is good, and we’ve gone without for a while,” Stewart said. “I think we had an excellent negotiating team.”
CCPS Deputy Superintendent Robin Welsh, the board’s chief negotiator, could not be reached by time of press for comment.
Though the negotiated contract is for three years, the salary article and two other articles from each side will be able to be reopened for the next two fiscal years.