Wages Up, Health Costs
Down In Local 227
Local 227 members pose after ratifying their contract at
the June membership meeting. In the first row, from left, are Amy Tuthill,
Kerri Klugman, Delia Stack and Linda Hoff; in the second row, Laurie Woodruff,
Constance Peeters, Louise Trudeau, Maureen Hock, Lindsay Marcotte-Hamel and
In early June, Head Start workers in upstate New York ratified
their third contract as members of UE Local 227. The new agreement contains
improvements in wages, some relief on health insurance costs, additional
vacation time and important education and training related language.
Local 227 members are employed by the Adirondack Community
Action Programs, Inc. (ACAP).
Head Start is a program funded by the federal government and
is designed to help children from low-income families prepare for
kindergarten. Local 227 members are teachers, home visitors, teacher aides,
bus drivers, nurses and cooks in eight locations throughout Essex County, N.Y.
As Head Start is dependent on federal funds, local members have always had to
struggle to get management to share the funds it receives. In the past,
management has always tried to reserve as much of the funds as possible for
supervisors and administrative salary increases.
Not any more.
The new contract, which took effect June 1, 2000, contains
wages increases which average 5.7 percent and which range from 2.6 to 16.9
percent in the first year of the agreement. Some employees will receive
increases of as much as $1.28 per hour.
Employees will also pay up to $10 less per month for
health insurance. Every employee will receive an additional day of paid
For the first time ever, workers will be guaranteed wage
increases in the second and the third year of agreement without having to go
through time consuming and difficult re-opener negotiations. Wages in year two
and three are tied to the cost-of-living adjustment passed by Congress each
year in its federal budget. UE members will be guaranteed this increase, plus
a defined portion of additional federal funds received by the agency, plus
negotiated wage increases for certain positions.
In its guidelines issued for the Head Start program this year,
the federal government included a mandate that at least half of the Head Start
teachers receive college degrees by 2003. Under the new contract between UE
Local and ACAP, teachers and home visitors will receive an annual education
reimbursement fund and teachers who already have a degree or who receive a
degree during the life of the contract will receive an additional $1.00 per
hour increase. Other workers who receive a specific accreditation will receive
$300 per year in base pay.
The new contract was negotiated by Kerri Klugman, Lindsay
Marcotte-Hamel, Delia Strack, Amy Tuthill, and Joanne Vassar. UE
Intl. Rep. Kimberly Lawson assisted this committee.
UE News - 07/00