[From a press release]
After months of negotiating and two strikes, Behavioral Specialists and Clerical Staff, who educate and support students with Autism reached a contract deal with Groden Network management.
“We are glad to have reached an agreement that will increase low wages, which will hopefully reduce high turnover and help our students get the consistency they deserve,” said Sam Lozeau, Behavior Specialist at the Groden South School in Coventry. “We are also proud to have a contract that will address safety concerns and allow Groden staff to provide a voice for students and advocate for safer classrooms.”
Groden staff has been fighting to address high turnover caused by near poverty wages at the Groden Network and the overuse of less qualified temporary staff which was threatening classroom safety. Consistency in staffing and services is vital for children with Autism.
Members of 1199 SEIU New England at Groden won language to give staff a stronger voice when identifying and addressing safety concerns. The agreement also raises wages by almost 11 percent over the life of the three-year contract for most of the bargaining unit.
“Behavioral Specialists and Clerical staff stayed united and were able to win a contract that moves workers forward and addresses safety concerns we have for our students,” said Kaile Bautista, a North Behavior Specialist at Groden North in Providence.
SEIU 1199 Members will vote on the tentative agreement in the next few days.