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Nashua Teachers And Para-Professionals Respond To A Lack Of Contract

NASHUA, NH September 6, 2017 – The General Membership of the Nashua Teachers’ Union met Tuesday afternoon to discuss the lack of contracts for teachers and para- educators. The para-educators contract expired on June 30th while the teachers’ contract expired on September 1st. Both negotiating teams have been waiting for a response from the Board of Education since late June.

“The lack of productive communication from the Board over the summer is problematic,” said Adam Marcoux, President of the Nashua Teachers Union. Marcoux went on to say, “I have tried numerous times to engage in talks to move this process forward for both teachers and para-educators only to be met with responses stating why the Board could not meet or with no response at all. The silence is deafening.”

For the third straight contract, teachers are starting the school year without a contract. For para-educators, this is the second straight contract those employees are starting without a contract. “We are trying to come to agreements that are fair and equitable to our teachers and para-educators while understanding the budgetary impact on the school district and the City,” said Marcoux. “However, that is difficult to accomplish when requests to meet go unanswered.”

The Nashua Teachers’ Union General Membership overwhelmingly approved the following actions:

  • Effective immediately, all members are asked discontinue membership on all district committees.
  • Effective immediately, all members are asked discontinue membership on all school committees that are not contractual obligations.

Members should continue to attend scheduled faculty meetings, Early Release meetings, and NEASC meetings (high school). New teachers should continue to attend new teacher cohorts.

The Nashua Teachers’ Union General Membership also overwhelmingly approve the following actions, effective September 18, 2017, if there is not a tentative agreement reached at the next session of negotiations:

  • Effective September 18, 2017, all members are asked to discontinue advising any club or organization for which they do not receive a stipend
  • Effective September 18, 2017, all members are asked to cancel and not schedule any field trips
  • Effective September 18, 2017, all members are asked to discontinue writing letters of recommendation for higher education
  • Effective September 18, 2017, all members are asked to “Work to Your Contract” – follow the contract

    — Come to work at the start of the pupil day (15 minutes before the pupil day starts; traditionally the first bell)

    — Leave work 10 minutes after the pupil day

    — Complete all work related to your job (grading, planning, etc.) during your planning time

These actions will remain in place until such time that a new collective bargaining agreement is reached between the Nashua Teachers’ Union and the Board of Education for the members of Unit A – Teachers and the members of Unit B – Para-Educators, and until such agreements are ratified by the Nashua Board of Aldermen and signed off on by the Mayor, or these actions are discontinued by authorization of the Nashua Teachers’ Union General Membership.

“I am hopeful that when we meet on September 13th, we will be able to reach a tentative agreement that I can bring forward to the membership. Our teachers and para-educators will continue to come to school every day to provide the best education to the students of the Nashua School District,” Marcoux said.

Nashua Teachers Union Calls On Board For Action On Proposed Contract

NASHUA, NH August 28, 2017 – Over 1,000 teachers are waiting for a new contract, but they’re not going to have one before the school year begins. For the third contract in a row, Nashua’s teachers are beginning the school year without an employment contract in place to continue the one that is expiring on August 31. This year, however, the Nashua Teachers’ Union (NTU) seemed to be on the verge of an agreement with the Nashua Board of Education (BOE) when the Board suddenly went silent after a promising meeting on June 15. Last week, the BOE finally agreed to resume negotiations in mid-September – a full three months since the parties last met.

“We are entering our second school year in a row without a contract,” said NTU President Adam Marcoux. “The lack of productive communication from the Board is problematic. I have tried numerous times to engage in talks to move this process forward, only to be met with responses stating why they could not meet or with no response at all. The silence is deafening.”

The expiring one-year contract was approved toward the end of 2016 as a stop-gap measure to give both parties time to evaluate the current salary structure. Under last year’s contract, a joint Board and NTU Salary Committee was created to study the current salary structure and recommend how it could be improved to insure retention of highly experienced faculty, especially those who were being paid significantly less than teachers with similar experience in comparable districts around the state. That committee proposed a new salary schedule that would be based on education and actual years of teaching experience instead of continuing the unsatisfactory step method.

Five months of negotiations for a new contract began in January, followed by one month of mediation when an impasse was declared in May. On June 15, the NTU left the mediation meeting believing they were within hours of settling a new multi-year agreement. The parties agreed the BOE would meet to discuss the proposed changes in salary structure, and then negotiations would resume. Despite many requests to continue negotiations since June, the Board was unable to resume working with the teachers to secure a contract and ensure a smooth opening of the school year.

“We are trying to come to an agreement that is fair and equitable to our teachers while understanding the budgetary impact it has on the school district and the City,” said Marcoux.

Nashua Teachers Union President’s Testimony Against SB 11 “Right To Work”

January 10, 2017

Honorable Daniel Innis, Chairman
Senate Commerce Committee
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301

Re: Written Testimony in Opposition to Senate Bill 11

Dear Honorable Chairman Innis and Members of the Committee,

First, I would like to thank Senator Innis and the Committee for this opportunity to speak this afternoon. My name is Adam Marcoux, and I reside in Nashua with my wife, 2 children, and one due in April. I am a lifelong resident of Nashua, a product of the Nashua School District, and a graduate of Keene State College. I care deeply about the future of our state and do not want to see legislation that will negatively impact working families in NH.

I have been employed by the Nashua School District since 2008 where I was a first and fifth grade teacher. Since August 2016, I have served as President of the Nashua Teachers’ Union. I am here to speak against Senate Bill 11, an act prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union – a so-called Right to Work Act. I have read the bill and it is hard to understand what would make this good public policy or that it is addressing any problem that exists in our state. I can attest that agency fee has not been an issue in Nashua and we have no problems as a result of having this provision.

As President of the Nashua Teachers’ Union, I was elected to provide a service to the teachers, para-educators, secretaries, and food service workers of the Nashua School District. I am required, by law, to negotiate, in good faith, a contract for more than 1500 employees of all 4 bargaining units. I am required, by law, to represent an employee in disciplinary proceedings. I am required, by law, to represent and file grievances on behalf of employees. Like any other business or service, I charge a fee for said services in the form of Union dues, or for non-members, Agency fees.

Under Senate Bill 11, non-members would no longer have to pay Agency fees, but still be afforded the benefits of the negotiated contract and the protection of progressive discipline. No one is forced to be a member of any Union in the State of New Hampshire. However, just like I am charged a service fee to use the Everett Turnpike in the form of tolls, or just as I am charged property taxes for City and State services, or just as I am expected to pay the parking meter on Main Street to park my car, so should the people who benefit from the time and energy my Executive Board, Board of Directors, Negotiating Teams, and I put into negotiating contracts, filing grievances, and defending their rights.

I would ask that the Senate Commerce Committee reject this legislation. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Respectfully Submitted,

Adam A. Marcoux
President, Nashua Teachers’ Union
American Federation of Teachers, Local 1044

Nashua Teachers Contract Stalls, Union Calls For Collaboration

Nashua Teachers Union calls on the Nashua Board of Education to work together and create a fair agreement that is best for the students, teachers and the entire community.

ntu-logoNASHUA, N.H.– The President of the Nashua Teachers’ Union called on the Board of Education today to choose collaboration and cooperation over contentiousness, saying swift completion of a new, fair agreement would help stabilize the teaching force and enable the district to better attract and retain teachers – and serve students.

“We are at a crossroads,” said NTU President Adam Marcoux of the agreement that expired on August 31. “We can choose to go in the direction of collaboration and cooperation, and working together on a fair agreement that reflects the challenges and demands of our profession.  Or, we can go the other way. The NTU believes it’s better for parents and students – and our entire community – to work together than to have a bitter, divisive fight. We invite the board to join with us and move forward.”

Marcoux noted the district filled about 100 teaching vacancies since the end of June. The vast majority of teachers leaving, he said, chose not to return to Nashua because salaries and benefits lag behind what other education professionals are paid in neighboring communities.

“Competitive salaries are essential if Nashua is going to attract the best teachers to serve students – and, once hired, keep teaching here. A revolving door benefits no one.  The NTU is looking to the Board to negotiate a fair agreement that enables the district to move forward, and is not a penny more – nor a penny less – than taxpayers can afford,” Marcoux added. “Salaries across the board must reflect the knowledge, skills and dedication that Nashua’s teachers bring to their classrooms every day, and which enable us to continue to deliver a first-rate public education to all students.” 

Marcoux said he is hopeful that talks, which resume with a mediation session on September 13, will be productive and result in a swift settlement. He said teachers are frustrated at the fourth expired contract in five years, and the lack of progress so far on a new deal.  He said the NTU’s membership voted recently to resign from district committees on September 14 if no deal is struck, but would continue to write letters of recommendations for students; serve as club advisors; and continue volunteering their personal time to help the districts most precious resource – its students.

“There is considerable frustration among the membership with the way this Board is currently handling negotiations, but that frustration won’t impact our work on behalf of students,” Marcoux said. “We hope the board can get itself together and work productively this week to ensure our September 13 mediation session is successful.”

Nashua Teachers Union Recommends Jim Donchess for Mayor

Teachers Back Donchess for His Strong Commitment to Education
and Proven Record of Supporting Nashua’s Schools.

NASHUA—Today, the Nashua Teachers Union announced its endorsement of Jim Donchess in his campaign for Mayor, asking its members and their families and neighbors who reside in Nashua to support Donchess during his campaign and in the September 8th Primary Election.

The Nashua Teachers Union is made up of teachers in the Nashua school district, and is a municipal affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire (AFT-NH). AFT-NH Local 1044 President Bob Sherman, among numerous other educators, cited Donchess’ unwavering commitment to education.

“After reviewing all of the candidates who submitted their responses to the Teachers Union Committee on Political Education (COPE) questionnaire on education, the COPE Committee voted almost unanimously to support Jim. Given his longstanding record on and commitment to education in Nashua, we know that Jim is the right choice,” said AFT-NH Local 1044 President Bob Sherman.

“I’ve known Jim since our children were in elementary school together many years ago. His commitment to public education and learning has been the root of him as a citizen of Nashua and as a public servant. His support of education spans decades, and he is and has always been authentic and genuine in his commitment to our city,” says Nashua High School South teacher Judy Loftus. “In 2010, when he saw budget cuts that would have resulted in the loss of many teachers in Nashua, he and a group of citizens formed the organization Nashua Schools Back On Top. They advocated successfully to restore many of those cuts before the budget was finalized. We must elect Jim as Mayor to have a partner in City Hall who ensures that children and teachers in Nashua always have an advocate.”

“About a year ago Jim stopped by my house and we had a really in-depth conversation about education. I was, and have continued to be, very impressed by his outreach to Nashua residents and his commitment to children,” says Ledge Street Elementary School Teacher Sylvie Stewart. “Jim knows that the most beneficial way to improve Nashua is through working with educators to provide a high quality public-school education, one that meets the demands of all its children so that each child has the opportunity to thrive.”

“It’s an honor to have earned the support of Nashua’s teachers.  Education is the backbone of any community and when schools thrive, the community thrives and our economy thrives,” said Donchess. “Making children, teachers and education a priority in Nashua is key if we want our city to grow and succeed.”

About the American Federation of Teachers New Hampshire Local 1044

AFT-NH Local 1044 is the Municipal Affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire. AFT Local 1044 has nearly 1,500 members in Nashua, including teachers, para-educators, secretaries and food service employees.

Video Highlights From The NH Workers Solid As Granite Rally

Here are all of the videos from the NH Workers Solid As Granite Rally.  Be sure to follow us on YouTube as well so you can see our newest and latest movies. 
Intro Movie (Highlight Reel) 
Nashua Teachers Union President
Robert Sherman
Deb Howes
Member of the Nashua Teachers’ Union
Presenting Certificates of Appreciation to Local State Reps
who opposed Right To Work (for less)
Craig Lange
Adjunct Professor at Nashua Community College
Newly formed SEIU 1984 chapter
AFT-NH President Laura Hainey
SEIU 1984 / State Employees Association
President Diana Lacey
National Postal Mail Handlers Union
Representative Ed Barnes
Sheet Metal Workers Local 17
Business Agent, Ed Foley
President of the Metal Trades Council at the
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
IBEW Member,
Paul O’Connor
NH Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health
Al Bouchard
NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie
Ret. Firefighter, Member IAFF

NH Workers Solid As Granite Series Part 1: Nashua Teachers’ Union President Robert Sherman

This is the first in a series of posts about the NH Workers Solid as Granite rally that was held in Nashua NH on May 5th 2012.  Each one of these posts will include a brief synopsis of the person speaking and will include the full speech from the event.

The first speaker in the series is Robert Sherman.  Robert was a social studies teacher for 39 years prior to retiring to become the President of the Nashua Teachers’ Union (AFT local 1044).

In Robert’s speech he will talk about how important it is to have a union in place.  He talks about what it was like for teachers in the Nashua School District in 1970 before the teachers had a collective bargaining right.  “Because we have a collective bargaining agreement we now have health care, sick leave, time off, maternity leave, and job security.”

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