Union, Everett School District reach 3-year deal

The Everett School District has reached a new three-year contract agreement with members of the Service Employees International Union that calls for a 1.1 percent across-the-board increase this year.

The union represents 174 full- and part-time workers in a variety of jobs, including food service workers, custodians and technology specialists.

The new contract was approved on a 71-6 vote. “We’re happy with the outcome,” said Donna Lafave, president of the union chapter.

“What we were concerned about is we needed to be treated with respect,” she said. “As with all the other district employees, that translates into compensation.”

Union members had previously rejected a tentative contract agreement in September. Some union members walked through a school board meeting later that month holding signs saying, “We matter, too.”

“We do a lot of our work in the background to enhance the school experience,” Lafave said. “We feed the children, maintain a clean, safe environment and keep all the technology working for them.”

The agreement calls for 1 percent increases for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.

The cost of this year’s wage increase is estimated to be $50,000, according to Mary Waggoner, school district spokeswoman.

Superintendent Gary Cohn said in a statement that the school district is pleased that the union approved the contract. “SEIU members are important parts of the educational support structure for students in our schools,” he said.

The wage increases for the SEIU workers follows salary increases for about 140 other school district employees, including school principals, associate superintendents, and non-union employees such as security, technical and audio visual specialists, who received 2.6 percent raises, although 1.1 percent was to make up for cuts in state education funding last year, school district officials said.

The school district’s 1,073 teachers also approved a three-year contract in August that included a 2 percent pay raise, although teachers absorbed a net 1.1 percent cut last year.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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