We have been negotiating our first contract with ESS since the fall of 2019. The company stalled on scheduling bargaining sessions throughout the process. However, after many bargaining sessions we finally have tentative agreements on many issues. But our negotiations have hit a new obstacle because ESS insists that it will only agree to economic proposals if the school district pays for the cost. At the same time, the Winslow School District won’t talk to the union because they say that they aren’t the direct employer.
We are tired of ESS and the school district both passing the buck and keeping us in poverty! We have low wages, no health care, no paid days off, no retirement funding, and no respect. It is time for both ESS and the Winslow School District to pay us living wages and provide us with fair benefits. The school district direct hire staff have good wages and benefits, and we want to be brought closer to parity with them. The ESS staff used to be school district employees before the district contracted out our work. When we got contracted out, our wages were slashed, our benefits were taken away, and we lost our pensions. It is unjust that we are treated like second class citizens by the Winslow School District.
Children in the Winslow School District would benefit from paraprofessionals who were paid living wages. We are in the classrooms, buses, and lunch rooms alongside school district staff every day. But most of us have to work second jobs to be able to pay our bills, and we are exhausted and stressed out. Support Winslow children by supporting the paraprofessionals’ fight for fairness!