By Max Bowenemail@example.com
The North Attleborough Federation of Teachers (NAFT) is planning a rally on Wednesday to get public support for a year-long negotiation process that has yet to see a conclusion.
The rally will be held on Wednesday, June 15, at 4:30 p.m. outside the Woodcock Administration Building, located at 6 Morse St. This will be prior to a School Committee meeting that same day at 6 p.m. Members of the NAFT plan to present a petition with over 500 signatures to the committee during the meeting.
According to a statement from the NAFT, the paraprofessionals, food service workers, and office professionals have been working without a contract for the entire school year. The statement claims that the bargaining units have yet to reach a settlement with the committee, despite several attempts.
“Our paraprofessionals, food service workers, and office professionals have worked tirelessly through this school year, showing up every day for our students, without a contract,” the statement reads. “They all play a critical role in our schools providing students with one-on-one support in the classroom, nourishment, maintaining order in the operation of our schools and so much more. Our schools cannot run without them.”
School Committee Chair Ethan Hamilton said that turnover in the school’s legal staff and administration was the cause of the delay. He declined to comment on the requests made from the three groups, citing ongoing negotiations.
Hamilton added that such delays have happened before. In 2020, the Town Council approved a contract between the town and the Police Officers Union following 16 months of negotiations.
“It’s not uncommon to have it go this long with other departments,” he said.
The paraprofessionals, food service workers, and office professionals contracts was rolled over into 2021 following their expiration. Hamilton said that once negotiations are complete, any raises will be added retroactively. Negotiations are held between subcommittees for both the School Committee and the bargaining units, who then report back on the progress made.
In its statement, the NAFT said that staff have left the district feeling burnt-out, frustrated, and demoralized.
“Our paraprofessionals, our food service workers, and our professional office staff matter,” the statement read. “They are essential to making our schools run and should be treated as such.”