TIVERTON — A deal for a new three-year contract has been reached between Tiverton’s 183 teachers and the School Committee.
Both sides agreed to it Thursday night.
The final sticking point about how much time the union president would be given each school day to attend to union business was amended from a proposal last month that was rejected by teachers, to one on Thursday night that a majority of teachers agreed with at a membership meeting after the School Committee meeting. It included previously agreed-to language on total 10 percent salary increases over the three years, and amendments to the sick bank.
Amy Mullen, president of the National Educators Association-Tiverton, said she believes that a work-to-rule implemented by the teachers for four days, beginning Monday, may have helped move along the deal.
Teachers walked into schools as a group in the mornings, beginning last Monday, and left as a group at the close of the school days to bring attention to the fact that they were still working under the provisions of the old contract that expired Aug. 31.
Parents took note, Mullen said, and some contacted School Committee members.
“Maybe that put some additional pressure on the School Committee,” Mullen said.
The school board met Thursday in executive session on NEA contract matters, and after that meeting, the teachers union members met and approved the language that deals with the time the president will be given to attend to union matters each day.
The new language gives the president one period per day and the issue will be revisited in 2020. Mullen will have to attest semi-annually that the time she took was for union business. The proposal offered by the School Committee last month would have given the president one period per day with the matter being reviewed next June.
There was also agreement that the contract will be reopened in January to negotiate professional development-related issues the superintendent has requested, and issues related to working conditions the union would like to address.
Superintendent Peter Sanchioni said he visited two schools Friday and noticed “a lot of people felt at ease” because the contract was no longer an issue.
Sanchioni said he does not think the work-to-rule “had any impact” on the final agreement because meetings about the union president time issue had been scheduled prior to Monday’s first work-to-rule action, but the agreement did “make sure it didn’t continue,” he said Friday afternoon.
“In essence it’ all agreed to,” Sanchioni said of the new contract for the teachers.
“We’re relieved to be done,” Mullen said.
A formal vote of the School Committee is expected at its Nov. 20 meeting. A fiscal impact statement on the financial ramifications of the new contract should be available by next week, Sanchioni said, which would be well ahead of the town charter requirement that all labor contracts be publicly advertised three days prior to final approval.