Sweeping changes in new CRESPA contract


By Jim Poole

Cobleskill-Richmondville and its non-teaching employees reached agreement on a new contract that brings sweeping changes to their relationship.
And those changes are positive all around, according to Superintendent Carl Mummenthey.
“It’s pro employee, pro district and pro taxpayer,” he said of the three-year contract.
The approximately 200 members of the Cobleskill-Richmondville Educational Support Personnel Association––CRESPA––approved the contract earlier, and the school board okayed it last Monday.
The biggest change is that it switches employees––bus drivers, clerical, maintenance, grounds, teaching assistants, education aides and cafeteria workers––from hourly wages to salaries.
“We’re trying to standardize work and make pay commensurate with the work,” Mr. Mummenthey said.
As wage-earners rather than salaried employees, workers weren’t paid for snow days. Now they will be.
“Docking for snow days put a pretty significant hardship on folks for reasons beyond their control,” Mr. Mummenthey said.
The pact also grants pay increases of 2.75 percent for each of the three years, from 2017 to 2020. Employees will get the raise retroactive to July 1, 2017.
A change in health insurance will give CRESPA members $500 health reimbursement accounts that they can use for co-pays, deductible payments or other health-care needs.
Workers will also get five paid vacation days in their first year, which they didn’t have before.
The new contract took more than a year to negotiate and finalize.
“Both sides looked at every word and every detail,” Mr. Mummenthey said.
CRESPA President Sue Petersen said members were “satisfied with the new contract or else they would have turned it down.”
School board President Bruce Tryon noted the length of the negotiations but said the effort was worth the results.
“I commend the leadership teams of both CRESPA and the district on producing a fair and balanced settlement,” he said.
“The good faith efforts of both sides brought negotiations to a mutually beneficial settlement.”