HARRISON CITY– Paraprofessionals, represented by 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the Penn Trafford School District last week agreed upon a three-year contract to maintain a consistent, well-trained and permanent presence to best aid students with disabilities.
In spring of this year, Penn Trafford paraprofessionals were faced with the threat of their jobs being outsourced to a private agency that would not have the same direct accountability to the District. Paraprofessionals play an important role in assisting students with their daily needs and ensuring their mainstreaming in the classroom environment.
“The Penn Trafford paraprofessionals are deeply committed to serving the District’s students. You cannot outsource the kind of care these hardworking men and women provide,” said Sam Williamson, Assistant Director of 32BJ SEIU, Western PA. “We appreciate that the school district gave the paraprofessionals, custodians and secretaries a fair contract that maintains the gold standard of care and service that Penn Trafford students deserve.”
Thanks to a large outcry from parents and students, all 38 paraprofessional jobs were spared. The contract, which also covers 50 custodians and secretaries not under threat of outsourcing, includes similar health care and wages to the previous agreement with the District.
“We’re happy the contract is settled and these jobs will be kept in-house. We live and work in this community and feel passionate about helping these children,” said Cheryl McGartland, a Sunrise Elementary School paraprofessional for the last 13 years. “We’re glad we’re staying.”
With more than 145,000 members, including 22,000 in Pennsylvania, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property services union in the country.