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New Teachers' Contract Signed by School Committee

After months of negotiations and tension between the two sides last year, the contract was finalized on Monday night.

 

The negotiations between the Westford Education Association (WEA) and the Westford School Committee concluded last June and the new contract went into effect on Monday.

In 5-0-0 votes, the School Committee voted to approve the new contracts for Unit A and Unit G of the WEA.

Unit A consists of all school district employees involved in classroom work excluding teachers' aides and Unit G includes Math and Reading intervention specialists.

The board also unanimously approved new contracts for office professionals and Superintendent Bill Olsen.

Olsen's new agreement, which lasts until 2016, was largely unchanged from his former deal, outside of a small increase for travel fees and $3,000 to be obtained upon retirement.

He also told the board that due to ongoing budgetary difficulties faced by the town, he would voluntarily forego any raises or bonuses he was entitled to, a move he also made in 2012.

Judith Culver was not in attendance for the votes and Chairwoman Angela Harkness needed to leave the meeting early.

Steven Sadowski April 10, 2013 at 06:41 PM
Alex: You seem to be hung up on "it's not fair." And I'm sorry, but life isn't fair. It's not fair baseball players make millions for playing a game while our soldiers in Afghanistan don't. I could give a thousand permutations for why life isn't fair, but I don't think it will help you. You seem to have created this analogy between all the public sector workers as if each are equal and demand equal pay or compensation. I don't know when it was 1st decided teaching would be a salaried position, but it is. Knowing how the teacher's union is so powerful, you would think if it worked out better for teachers to go to an hourly rate, they'd be fighting for it, but I have never heard them try and convert it, so it must be working out for teachers to be salaried. But then you can't complain that a salaried worker is making less than a hourly one. I guess it must be nice in August to get a check? I guess. And maybe this isn't Compton, but everyone has to train as if it were, so training begets higher pay. Who was that kid in Sudbury that wanted to fly model plains into DC buildings? And Sandy Hook looks a lot like Westford so I'm hoping WPD has done extensive anti-terrorist and lockdown training even if we'll hopefully never use it.
Steven Sadowski April 10, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Office workers probably make higher pay because in their field the positions are stepped. So if a CEO makes > $1M, and a VP makes > 500k, and a director makes >150k and so on...by the time you get down to the admins. you've stepped down to about 70k. I know it's not "fair"but neither is the fact that people don't buy 1m copies of my CD! I belong in the songwriters pantheon!
Alex Finnegan April 10, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Steven said "And just so you know, I'm planning on being a teacher someday" A public school teacher? I don't mean to sound confrontational but I don't believe you. You've shown that you know little about teaching. I suggest friend a teacher & take the time to learn the the job, there is a lot to it that you are blind to at the moment. Steven said "so I don't hate teachers, or teaching, but comparing 1st responders to teachers is not a fair comparison." You forgot office workers, but why is it not fair? You have a "Hollywood" view of what their jobs are like. They are higher risk but someone like myself would prefer that. I'd sooner be a cop or FF over a teacher b/c the job is exciting. I have seen up close and personal what all 3 do. More so than most people on this forum save a cop, FF, or teacher. Not bragging, that's the truth. I have close friends who do all of these jobs. Tteaching pays the worst, get's no respect, endlessly misrepresented (# of days & hours worked), high education requirements, Salary, not hourly etc. All the cops & FF I know AGREE that teaching is the worst job of the 3 & would not trade. Now including office workers, why is teaching the lowest starting pay? Why do the other jobs reach top pay in 8 years? They all have 8 years experience at that point, but one has a Masters degree as well? Explain that. Up until recently all got to top pay in 4-5 years, while teachers are dragged out to 14!
Steven Sadowski April 10, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Alex: I never served my country in uniform. When I graduated HS there was no war and my parents' dream was for me to go to college. But I always wanted to serve so I'm finishing up my BS in Math at UMass. When I get certified I'm going to teach in the inner city trying to reshape the test scores and give back to a society that has given me so much by helping those who quite frankly, haven't. Speaking of danger, since it's a rough job, they pay more AND they waive the master's degree requirement and extend it indefinitely as so long as you're working on it. But that's me, you can believe me or not, I don't care. I didn't forget office workers I wrote a separate post since I'm a "Tolstoy." As for why they move up the chain faster is because there are more positions to leap in a business and businesses try to promote every 2-3 years for stability and resource protection. How many position jumps in a school? 4? Teacher aid, teacher, coordinator, administrator? You want more movement? Create more diversity in the educational paradigm. I realize cops and FF spend 99% of their time waiting for something horrible to happen, but they get paid for the 1%. I don't know why you can't see that, or why you are in this contest to see who has the heavier cross, but there it is and here you are actually trying to convince us all that teachers have it worse than cops and that those guns they carry are just for decoration, it has no proportional realtion to danger or anything.
Alex Finnegan April 10, 2013 at 07:52 PM
So why do they start lower & stretched over 14 years? Here's what you have to work around 1.They have the most education. 2.They don't work the fewest hours, even if you believe the M-F 8-4 thing 3.Their job isn't the least dangerous, office workers are arguably safer. 4.Other jobs all OT is tracked. Teachers, doesn't matter how much you work. 5.Longevity pay starts at 5 years, for teachers it's 14? 6.Other jobs you are not responsible to 40+ parents, in touch with you, after hours, daily. 7.No stipends for clothing 8. No company car to use At least I hope you see why holding teachers at step for a year or two was not the same as other unions Statistically, more members of the other unions were at top step so it didn't affect them, they also had longevity pay, shift differentials, o/t to rely on. But the S.C. presented it like teachers were not playing by the same rules as everyone else. It was very different for teachers to forego those steps than it was for other unions, no recognition of that by the SC Each job is unique, with it's own schedule, inconveniences and perks. I respect them all, I will fight for them all. I've pointed out the rewards of some vs teachers & why that makes no sense. Office workers start at higher pay, 37.5 hour work week, o/t, longevity pay 3x faster, top pay almost twice as fast. All other town jobs have similar structures (longevity & step) Can you explain why teachers don't get the same?
Balz April 10, 2013 at 07:59 PM
Teachers will be out for every last possible cent next time around that's for sure after many bought the we are broke line and watched while their step raise which was budgeted for was spent on new positions. Good luck next time playing slick willy school board
Alex Finnegan April 10, 2013 at 08:21 PM
Why is what? The fact that Vinnie doesn't have a Masters degree relevant? Because it's a different category of work. Comparing Engineers with Mcdonalds employees is meaningless. The fact that you put in the time, work and money to get a Masters entitles you to a higher class of work environment/perks. That's why people do to school. So Vinny sharing his experience with what he has "endured" at work (sounds like he has had it pretty good to me) is no different than me comparing mine. Being self employed my work environment, work day, experience is totally different. If you want to compare things you need to have a basis on which to equate them. The fact that they are both "jobs" doesn't mean much. Vinnie said "ah I see a masters allows them to: - feel entitled to more more more - It's the opposite, they get less, less, less. And the tax payers should be grateful for the school system they have. It's cheap, efficient and effective. - not be team players - They are not the same as other employees. I explained why and posted a question at the bottom Can you answer it? - toss around accusations about their bosses - This from the guy who accuses me of being a "drive-by" & non tax payer. - toss around accusations about their customers (students/drugs, tax payers/lack of appreciation) - It's funny to me how hypersensitive you are to a comment made about a tax payer but when someone (you) calls teachers selfish you think nothing of it.
Steven Sadowski April 10, 2013 at 08:28 PM
Alex: Well you know me, I want to privatize the whole town, so maybe when you help get elected, you can renegotiate a better contract with your new boss. What I can tell you is that education does not always beget higher pay, you see hung up on that. If you wanted a job that pays well, maybe education was not the best choice? But you did choose a job that for decades has this salary structure. It’s like the kid with a degree in European Renaissance Sculpture working at Starbucks complaining about “the man.”
Steven Sadowski April 10, 2013 at 08:28 PM
“1.They have the most education.” Yes. So what? See Manny Ramirez. 
 “2.They don't work the fewest hours, even if you believe the M-F 8-4 thing “ It’s called s-a-l-a-r-y. Lots of people are salaried.
 “3.Their job isn't the least dangerous, office workers are arguably safer.” Again, so what. Why are you trying to make teaching into this butch position? Why can’t you just embrace the Mr. Rogers aspect of it? It’s a safe position, who cares if it’s #1, or #8, it’s not as dangerous as being a cop. “
4.Other jobs all OT is tracked.” repetitive (#2) “
5.Longevity pay starts at 5 years, for teachers it's 14?” I know of no private sector job where one is tenured. So give and take. “
6.Other jobs you are not responsible to 40+ parents, in touch with you, after hours, daily.” Um those parents are giving you their most precious commodity. I’d be scared if they WEREN’T calling. 
7.No stipends for clothing” 
Really? Are khakis from Wal Mart really that expensive? Try buying 7 days worth of suits, or go to a Carhart store and try not to spend less than $200. “8. No company car to use.” Company car? Are you even reading your own posts? I’m going to tell my wife when she gets home to request a company car. LOL.
Balz April 10, 2013 at 09:03 PM
This town school committee gave Super Steve Foster a glowing review and then threw him under the bus when a teacher was found to be an addict. The hypocrisy s nothing new,
Sam April 10, 2013 at 11:04 PM
As Vinny has stated Alex does not live in town nor does he teach in town. I suspect he is your typically state union hack who spews his stuff defending whatever union that is the midst of contract negotiations. I bet if we checked around different patches old long tooth would have posts all over saying the same exact things, just delete/add town here.
Balz April 11, 2013 at 12:15 AM
Sam, I will wait for you to add one bit if evidence to reinforce your assertion. Good lacking searching other patches but AF is a town resident who knows what's up and backs up what he says unlike, well you know....
Vincent DiRico April 11, 2013 at 12:27 AM
When a name does not show up on the list of tax payers, well YOU know ...
Sam April 11, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Sure thing. How is your job search going.
Amber April 11, 2013 at 01:00 AM
Vinny, you can get a list of registered voters but not taxpayers as far as I know. Or property owners, but that wouldn't include renters.
Vincent DiRico April 11, 2013 at 01:24 AM
The great AF living off scraps, say it ain't so ;) You got some proof either way? If so we'd love to see it.
Amber April 11, 2013 at 01:33 AM
I'd love to, if I had the foggiest clue what the heck you were talking about.
Martin Luther April 11, 2013 at 03:52 AM
Are the teachers planning to go out on strike? How long will the strike last? Will the town Fathers and Mothers take the WEA and the MTA to court? Will the penalties accessed by the court and legal fees bankrupt the WEA and the MTA?
Martin Luther April 11, 2013 at 03:55 AM
I believe that the statutory rape incident by a teacher made Dr. Foster's position untenable. IMHO, Dr. Foster played Caesar to Olsen's Brutus who learned the game from Dr. John.
Martin Luther April 11, 2013 at 04:01 AM
Welcome back from rehabilitation Alex. IMHO You should ask for a refund, Whatever they did it did not change get rid of your hallucinations and delusions of grandeur.
Alex Finnegan April 11, 2013 at 04:02 AM
Steven.... So your answer is being a cop in Westford is dangerous. FF can work far fewer hours but should make more b/c they might have to run into a burning building. Office workers your explanation doesn't make sense. You're stretching so far it makes it look like you have an agenda. Email me & for the contracts for all 4 legalcontractsMA@gmail.com. Also, reconcile these two statements "And maybe this isn't Compton, but everyone has to train as if it were, so training begets higher pay." vs. "What I can tell you is that education does not always beget higher pay, you see hung up on that." Teachers receive the most training, by far. This you finally got right "You seem to have created this analogy between all the public sector workers as if each are equal and demand equal pay or compensation" So they are not equal, why were the forced to give up steps like the rest of the unions? You agree they aren't paid the same at the same level or pace. "you get every holiday in creation off (& 'yes' they are unpaid but a day off is a day off & it coincides with your own kid's days off so you save on the babysitter" Many holidays coincide with vacations. You can't give them credit for both. They can have every holiday off, but now you should remove those days from the vacations you attribute to them. Christmas V has Christmas and New Years. Feb has Presidents Day. But most professionals with a masters degree get this, as far as the rest I don't have kids.
Alex Finnegan April 11, 2013 at 04:25 AM
"while the rest of the real world has to find a sitter once a month" They chose to start a family. "snow days mean you don't have to shlep to work in a blizzard, you have summer's off which coincide with your own kids' vacation" I have both of those already b/c I work for myself, & again, no kids. This part is laughable... "1.They have the most education.” Yes. So what? See Manny Ramirez. 
(We are comparing town unions, you insert professional sports? Makes sense What you don't seem to understand is the education is a mandate. If pay is not at least somewhat commensurate with that requirement people will stop pursuing that job. C'mon you study math, you should understand some of the economic laws.) “2.They don't work the fewest hours, even if you believe the M-F 8-4 thing “ It’s called s-a-l-a-r-y. Lots of people are salaried. (You clearly missed my point. You (general "you" not "you Steven") can claim they are paid less because they work the fewest hours, they don't. You can claim it's because what they do isn't dangerous, neither is office work. How you explained no degree requirement office workers of deserving higher pay, faster raises, longevity pay 3x faster on God could understand. 
Your overall explanation is that life isn't fair. Your missing the whole point of the questions. There is a reason. It has nothing to do w/fairness. I thought you might have the drive to seek out the answer but it seems you are satisfied with the status quo)
Alex Finnegan April 11, 2013 at 04:50 AM
“3.Their job isn't the least dangerous, office workers are arguably safer.” Again, so what. Why are you trying to make teaching into this butch position? Why can’t you just embrace the Mr. Rogers aspect of it? It’s a safe position, who cares if it’s #1, or #8, it’s not as dangerous as being a cop. (Again you go off track because you can't handle the debate. Is it any less dangerous than office work? No. Does office work require a degree? No. Than why do the office workers start at higher pay, get longevity pay 3x faster & hit top pay almost 2x as fast? Let me put it to you as literally as I can. How does that make sense? If you need the contracts just email me, you are dong yourself a disservice by continuing to argue when you haven't read them) “ 4.Other jobs all OT is tracked.” (I should have been more clear with this one. My fault. Meaning all the other jobs, ALL your hours of work are recognized, which is a nice feeling. Teachers often are labeled as having 22 weeks off a year and working 5.25 hours a day. 5.Longevity pay starts at 5 years, for teachers it's 14?” I know of no private sector job where one is tenured. So give and take. (Again lame. all the union jobs I'm discussing people have tenure/seniority. You continuously avoid this question)
Alex Finnegan April 11, 2013 at 04:56 AM
6.Other jobs you are not responsible to 40+ parents, in touch with you, after hours, daily.” Um those parents are giving you their most precious commodity. I’d be scared if they WEREN’T calling. (Ok, I didn't realize intentions eliminated the work aspect of it. Another question you ducked. But you seem to get this one. Especially when younger, parents are helicopters & emotionally fragile about how you talk about their little one. , this is something the teacher has to deal with constantly. During the parents free time, whatever hours those may be. The teacher is expected to respond. They are "on call" you could say. You are saying it doesn't count because they parents are well meaning, right) 7.No stipends for clothing” Really? Are khakis from Wal Mart really that expensive? Try buying 7 days worth of suits, or go to a Carhart store and try not to spend less than $200. (Then why do other unions and admin have stipends? Also, I told you before I am not a teacher. I work for myself. So I have to pay both of those costs that you mentioned actually as I need suits and outdoor gear. That has nothing to do with inconsistencies in town contracts which is what this discussion is about) “8. No company car to use.” Company car? Are you even reading your own posts? I’m going to tell my wife when she gets home to request a company car. LOL. Sigh, again, I'm talking @ the town union contracts. What happened to that guy Dweir, at least he understood how to follow logic.
Balz April 11, 2013 at 08:42 AM
How come if teachers in town are unhappy with the status quo and seek change even of plain it's 'leave, find a new job, don't let the door hit ya' but if those same tea party minded conservatives don't like the political status quo of our country or state the same ('free to leave') is not relevant? Same difference, easier said than done. The only option is Not love it or leave it but push change. We all agree Westford drastically hurt teacher morale these last couple of years and the reality is those are the people who will be in our schools for the foreseeable future. How's the job search going? About as good as your seeking to move abroad because you are offended by assault weapons bans and background checks, gun registration databases
Balz April 11, 2013 at 08:45 AM
Work to rule (no committees, letters of recommendation, field trips, voluntary meetings) legal for teachers to abstain. Who said strike? Not me
Vincent DiRico April 11, 2013 at 11:04 AM
tax payer work to rule == NO 2.5 override you keep shaping public opinion, you are doing s fine job
Vincent DiRico April 11, 2013 at 11:09 AM
work to prevent changes to your health plan == ok (but it will be rolled out properly next time, costs need to be controlled) take positions until there ain't no $ and then start crying about new positions, ... you get the idea sounds like being part of the problem to me
Alex Finnegan April 11, 2013 at 11:12 AM
Good point. Being the tax layer doesn't give you Carte Blanche to just pay and treat people however you feel like. There are consequences. Especially when someone like me points to the budget to show you where they are hiding money to make it look like they are broke and there goes another P2.5 over ride. You would think people would go after the BOS, SC etc, The sad truth is teachers are easy targets for many of the reasons I mentioned above. You saw Steven dodge every way of explaining why teachers pay is off. I was hoping he would do better than he did because then I was going to hit him with the custodians contract, but as it was he just can't defend the differences in teachers pay. The whole thing is just sad, and Westford is building a reputation, not as a money savvy well run machine, but as a Town that is just making stupid decisions. Decisions that are going to drastically alter its status, anger it's citizens, employees and parents, and it's all over relative pocket change.
Alex Finnegan April 12, 2013 at 07:56 AM
I'll be watching carefully. Just be sure to remember that I was trying to tell the teachers that they weren't broke, that the whole thing was just masterfully planned opportunism. In the end they did what they felt was right, but I think now, it's apparent to them.

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