EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

December 20, 2012

School Committee approves two contracts

Teachers still in negotiation

METHUEN — The School Department last week approved two contracts that envision raises for secretarial and custodial staff starting next year.

Both contracts, which cover 2012 through 2015, start with no raises in the 2012-13 year, and then include a 2-percent raise in 2013 and a 2.5-percent raise in 2014.

"In the last four years, there were four zeroes," Mayor Stephen Zanni said. "If you look at that, it’s half a percent the past four years."

Each group's contract included no pay increases for each of three years between 2009 to the end of June. They were among a number of unions in the city who accepted no raises during the recession and slow recovery. Several unions took pay cuts, as well.

Phone messages seeking comment from the union leaders were not returned.

At the same time, Zanni said that negotiations with the teachers' union are moving forward. "We haven’t resolved anything yet," he said. "I think they've been productive."

The teachers' one-year contract expired on July 1 and did not include a raise in that year. Ann DiBenedetto, the Methuen Education Association president, did not respond to an email seeking comment.

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