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Perry School Staff
Realize Contract Goals

PERRY, Iowa

Perry Schools support staff, members of UE Local 895, have ratified yet another groundbreaking contract, with victories in nearly all of their bargaining goals.

UE Local 895 consists of the 85 teaching associates, secretaries, bus drivers, custodians and food service workers employed by the Perry School district, located about 30 miles northwest of Des Moines. They affiliated with UE in 1995.

Negotiations for the new contract started slowly, with the school administration asking that there be no change to the existing agreement beyond a small wage increase. The local union persisted, bargained hard and made progress in several areas. Mediation began with the final eight items on the table; the local walked away that evening with seven victories.

The two-year agreement contains unit-wide hourly wage increases of 35 cents each year, as well as new custodial night shift differential of an additional 35 cents.

The union dishes up a special course for food service workers: servers who do food preparation will receive additional compensation for their extra work. Former servers who become prep cooks will receive wage increases of 55 cents in the first year of the agreement.

Bus drivers also gain; they win additional increases in their field-trip pay rates, as well as a voice in developing a new, more equitable system for distribution of extra work.

Among major improvements in insurance is the extension of long-term disability insurance to anyone working 15 hours a week or more; previously the requirement was 20 hours. Life insurance will be increased by $10,000 to $30,000.

The new agreement also improves contract language. Outdated and intrusive dues deduction language was scrapped in favor of a streamlined article that puts dues entirely within the democratic control of Local 895 members. Procedural impediments to using immediate family illness leave are eliminated. This particular victory upset the Perry teachers’ union; they had settled a few days earlier without a similar improvement.

"Our contract was already one that other unions used as a goal post," commented Local Pres. Nancy Sawyer. "Now, in wages, paid leave and insurance, we’ve made gains that put us even further ahead."

The UE Local 895 negotiating committee consisted of Pres. Sawyer, Kathy Holmes, Rhonda Kanealy, LaJune Magill, Teresa Montgomery, Dorothea Peterson and Sue Whiton. They were assisted by Field Org. Don Taylor.

UE News - 05/98


Home -> UE News -> 1998 Archives -> Article

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