WESTFORD — The Westford Education Association and School Committee have ratified two additional contracts, which include substantial pay increases and one-time stipends for some employees.
Unit E’s contract, which represents Westford’s Education Support Professionals, expired on June 30, 2022. The contract, which had not received an extension during negotiation, had moved to arbitration in April, according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christopher Chew.
What’s in the Unit E contract?
A number of items, including new benefits and increased stipends, are included in the new contract, which is set to expire on June 30, 2025.
Some of the changes include:
- The contract allows employees to escalate grievance reports in certain cases and entitles all employees to sick leave benefits, regardless of hours worked. Employees with advanced degrees and certifications will see an increase in their annual bonus.
- The new contract changes the title of Teaching Assistants to Educational Support Professionals. It provides union representatives with one professional development day to attend the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
- Library ESPs will receive an additional $0.50 per hour, with employees assigned to students who require physical intervention receiving an additional $1 per hour. ESPs who are assigned to act as a substitute will receive an additional $12.50 an hour.
- ESPs will now receive overtime pay and additional professional development opportunities.
- ESPs will now receive two additional days of bereavement leave for employees who experience the loss of a loved one who does not reside with them, or a stillbirth or miscarriage for the employee or their partner.
- Employees may now apply for long-term leave of up to one year if employed with the district for more than one year.
- Current employees will receive a $1,000 stipend within 30 days of the contract’s ratification.
What’s in the Unit B contract?
Additionally, Unit B, which represents curriculum coordinators, support team leaders, and school counseling coordinators had their new contract signed on Nov. 6 and unanimously approved during a Nov. 6 School Committee meeting.
The contract is set to expire on June 30, 2026. This contract has seen two one-year extensions since it expired in 2020.
A number of changes are included in the new contract, including:
- Similar bereavement provisions as Unit E.
- Unused personal days are converted to accumulated sick days at the end of the year.
- An equal salary differential among staff, regardless of their position. Previously, differentials were provided to certain positions, such as Student Support Team Leaders, Guidance Facilitators working with middle and high school students, as well as curriculum coordinators.
- Salary longevity payments now have parity with Unit A’s salary longevity payments.
- Stipend payments for extracurricular activities now have parity with Unit A’s stipend payments.