January 16, 2018

Unit A November 2017 Minutes

Agawam Education Association

Executive Board Meeting

November 17th, 2017



  1. Lisa Bruno (for Tom Denton) called the meeting to order @ 4:09 PM.


  1. Teacher speak time– Teacher speak time was made available however no teachers were present to speak.


  1. Acceptance of Secretary’s Report– A motion was made to accept the Secretary’s Report and was passed unanimously.


  1. Acceptance of Treasurer’s Report– A motion was made to accept the Treasurer’s Report and was passed unanimously.


  1. President’s/Executive Director’s Report


  • Joe Clark – Lambert and Pryor Insurance Company
    • Born and raised in Agawam, went through the schools
    • Business is located on Springfield Street in Agawam
    • Personal insurance – car and home
    • Can provide advice, come into the schools whenever is convenient
    • May also meet at the office
    • Left business cards and email to contact
    • Will review existing plan to discuss if coverage was fair
  • Kelsey Sleet – MTA
    • Provided information to attendees
      • How many have head of the upcoming Supreme Court Janis decision?
      • Case going to be decided on before June 2018
      • Case will make membership in unions voluntary
      • Agency option in the union will be removed
      • It is likely that the decision will be in favor of the plaintiff due to a conservative Supreme Court
    • Work with the MTA to develop a strong network of communication to build the nation
    • Increase understanding of what the local and state union levels are responsible for
      • Remind staff of union accomplishments
    • Use the communication trees we have in each building already
    • Part of the campaign is to make sure that we have accurate membership lists
      • Who and where our members are
    • Make maps of the different buildings in the district
      • Building charts with point people
      • The person has a grouping of people they are responsible for
      • Replicable system of organization across the district
    • Research shows that when more members are talked to their union is more likely to stay part of the organization
    • Bring a strong collective as a local
    • A question was raised about what would happen if people chose to leave the union, will the union be responsible for protecting staff?
      • If the membership falls below 50%, the union will be decertified
      • This also means that the teachers contract will be void
      • As a result, people who stay in will be affected
    • A description of the difference between full members and agency fee members was provided
    • The significant change will be the loss of the agency fee
    • Right to Work will happen in the state of Massachusetts in public sector unions
      • Has occurred in 28 states
      • No obligation for the employer to bargain with their employees
    • In the 28 states, do we have data to discuss how well off those teachers are?
      • Data will be provided to Lisa Bruno in order to share with members
    • Assistance can be provided at individual buildings if necessary
    • ***Kelsey*** is here to work with us
      • Can come in to communicate with staff during non teaching times
      • Ask the administrator before setting up a date
    • What does the administration thin about this potential change?
      • The answer was unknown at this time
      • Lisa and Tom will bring this up at the Superintendent round table discussion
    • Is there anything we can do to influence this decision?
      • What we an do is push deep member engagement in order to counteract the results of the decision
    • Will these changes affect retirement for union members?
      • The answer is yes
    • Teachers unions have been impacted and more senior teachers have been let go
    • If over 50% of the employees want to stay unionized the representation will remain
    • The local level will have to create a way of processing the deductions
    • A question was raised about the two separate contracts from Unit A and Unit B
      • A follow up with Jason will provide further information


  1. VP Reports-
  • High School: The VP was not available
    • Trouble with the special education department PD
    • During the last PD there was no special education option
    • Admin let them know that they can attend a content area PD
    • There is still no special education CCF, they have assistant CCFs
  • Intermediate:
    • Concerns about special education meetings before held during the school day continue to be an issue
      • Staff are leaving during regular school hours
      • This was discussed at the last superintendents meeting
      • They agreed to offer a 2:15 and 3:15 time slot
      • There are currently 3 meetings throughout the year
      • Special education teachers are not required to stay after school and attend department meetings
      • Why do the rest of the staff have to attend department meetings each month after school on their own time?
      • It may be beneficial to have someone who speaks for the special education teachers, select a CCF for the varying levels
        • A request was made to provide information to Tom and Lisa
        • What value is coming from these meetings?
  • Elementary: Austin Kimball was not available
    • Teachers room is being used by staff and students, no space
    • Nowhere to do testing or run a small groups
    • Expressed concerns about this at the Superintendents meeting
      • This may be addressed to the building principal
      • Building based issue


  1. Tech Communications Coordinator Report- The coordinator was not available to speak
  2. Rep Rap- was not held
  3. Membership Coordinator
  • Pam believes she has all of the MTA materials
  • Please send any missing materials after Thanksgiving
  • Granger and Clark are still finalizing their list
  • When finished, please send to Pam Rivers after Thanksgiving
  • Sent something to ECC, no building rep at this time


  1. Unit B Coordinator-
  2. Old Business
  • Doering MCAS analysis issue
    • The data cannot be analyzed during our own time
    • Homework cannot be given to staff
    • People have received more requests to input data
    • In place of the PLC the data was analyzed during time after school
    • Data results have to be input onto Google Docs
    • We were told it was only minimal information to add to At A Glance
    • There is a greater need at the elementary level because they do not have Plus Portals
  • Using teachers to sub without pay by moving preparation periods
  • If prep is taken away they have to pay and cannot take at another time
  • Can use for meetings
  • Teachers will have to tell secretary if it their prep
  • Question, we have a duty period, can a meeting be held during SLT and switch duty and prep?
    • Still get your prep but don’t need to do your duty?
    • Cannot take you off duty to go to a meeting
    • The district takes that they have cleaned house with subs and in the process of interviewing
    • Doering building subs were out at one point
    • There is also an issue at the high school
  • Use of prep time to meet with principal regarding evaluation
    • Lisa will look further into the contractual language
  • Teachers not able to work together at Granger
    • Not a union issue and therefore do not need union representation
    • This conversation is different than the conversation that took place at the Superintendents meeting
    • The principal refused to meet with the staff together
    • The staff who felt that they were bullied wanted to meet with the principal together
    • The principal state that they had to come in alone
    • At the Superintendents meeting this issue was discussed
    • This need to be dealt with at the building level
    • Staff were offered a transfer to a different classroom and refused
    • The administrator made it clear that there was nothing in the contract to involve the union
  • Paraprofessional sitting on the professional development committee
    • Paraprofessionals are expected to attend the offerings in the district catalog, typically content based on whatever teacher you work with
    • Any issues where paraprofessionals are told there is no space should be brought to the attention of the AEA


  1. New Business
  • Paraprofessional who works in a special education classroom, son broke his leg
    • Needs to leave by 2:10 to pickup her son
    • Forced to take a half day by central office and the administrator
    • Not always providing a sub while the staff is taking half days
    • Normal work day ends at 3:30PM and needs to leave at 2:10PM
    • This paraprofessional has very specific IEP needs to attends to
    • Lisa will discuss this matter with Tom
    • Ask the district to provide a sub that can offer the IEP services
  • Clarification requested
    • Wondering about leaving early or coming in late
    • Robinson allows 45mins-1hour as long as you have coverage
    • This started years ago when people were having to take half days for a short amount of time
    • In our contract language it states about emergency coverage without pay
      • This seems to be being misconstrued as expected and it is not
    • A staff person asked for 5 minutes at the end of the day and the principal made her put in ½ day


  1. Committee reports:


  • Super Committee/Evaluation– meeting on Monday at 3:30PM


  • GrievanceChair was not present


  • Political Education


  • Social
  • T shirts are still available
  • $270 raised
  • 31 people have signed up for the 25 week club


  • Salary
  • Unit A- no news


  • Unit B-


  • Lemanski and Laurie McCaslin have met in regards to the MOA language for longevity
  • Motivation for wanting to clarify the language
  • Have come to a mutual agreement, Laurie has not shared this with Tom and Lisa and needs to share with the building reps
  • A retired paraprofessional may be effected if the MOA language is not signed
  • A recommendation was made that teachers bring someone along to these meetings
  • Concerns about the threatening comments being made about pay during these meetings


  • Election
  • Introduced of the new Doering rep


  • Scholarship
  • Received a check for $302 from the high school reunion in 1967
  • Gail Dion donated the money to the scholarship committee
  • Lisa will bring this up at the January meeting
  • Some form of acknowledgement for the contribution


  • Constitution- no news


  • Insurance– no news


Meeting adjourned @ 5:43PM.


Respectfully submitted,

Karen Albano, Secretary

Next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

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