Carlisle teachers’ union seeks to represent support staff

The Carlisle Teachers’ Association (CTA), a union made up of Carlisle School teachers, is seeking to represent paraprofessionals, administrative assistants, custodians and the dining room staff. At the June 13 meeting of the Carlisle School Committee (CSC), CTA president Linda Vanaria asked the CSC to “accept the creation of a Unit B for the Carlisle School Educational Support Staff under the umbrella of the Carlisle Teacher’s Association Contract.” CSC Chair David Model replied, “Thank you,” and made no public comment. 

Reached later, Model explained that he had “heard rumors” about the possible plan to include the support staff under the union umbrella. He said that Vanaria’s was the first formal request by the CTA. Asked why the various groups would join the CTA union instead of forming their own, Model said that he did not know. He added that to his knowledge none of the said that the CSC did not have a reaction as it had not yet discussed the request.

Details of the process to be followed going forward and how many staff members would be invited to join the CTA were unavailable as of press time. Vanaria declined to comment until after hearing back from the CSC. 

How common is this?

How common is it in Massachusetts to combine paraprofessionals, administrative assistants, custodians, and a dining room staff under the umbrella of a teachers’ union? A quick survey of surrounding towns reviewed a wide range of unions, but to date none were found to pull all groups under a teachers’ association. 

In Concord the school support staff is affiliated with the Massachusetts Teachers’ Association and fall under a unit called Concord/Carlisle Support Staff Association/MTA Bus Drivers’ Unit. 

The Concord-Carlisle High School (CCHS) Building Service Workers have their own union representatives with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO. In the Weston school district, the Building and Grounds employees also belong to the AFL-CIO.

Tutors (paraprofessionals) at CCHS have their own “Concord-Concord-Carlisle Tutors Association” but in the Bedford school district the paraprofessionals are represented by the teachers’ union, the Bedford Education Association. Weston’s paraprofessionals have their own association, Weston Aides/Paraprofessionals Association. 

In some districts, like Canton, cafeteria workers are represented by AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Buildings and Grounds). ∆