Perry School Staff
Realize Contract Goals
Perry Schools support staff, members of UE Local 895, have ratified
yet another groundbreaking contract, with victories in nearly all of their bargaining
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
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
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 Outdated and intrusive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
"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, weve 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.