ARPS staff feel ‘unappreciated,’ ‘stressed,’ and ‘fed up’ over unresolved contract, go work-to-rule


Matthew Owen

NESPA Winner: Feature story, 2023

The Graphic, Amherst Regional High School, Amherst, MA

ARPS faculty and staff have been negotiating for what they say is “a fair contract” since January of 2022, but they remain at a frustrating impasse with the School Committee.

On February 27, 2023, in response, all district schools voted to work-to-rule, which means staff only works within the confines of their contracts. Additionally, approximately 200 ARPS employees and community members rallied on the Town Common on Thursday, March 9.

In October of 2022, the APEA (Amherst Pelham Education Association, the union for ARPS employees), lobbied for a 3.25% increase to teacher and clerical staff salaries this year followed by 4% and 5% increase for the next two years; they asked for a 6% raise for paraeducators to compensate them for what they say is “challenging and necessary work.”

Even increases like these would not keep pace with inflation; the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2022 was over 7 percent, and last year, teachers and staff received a meager .6 percent increase. In 2020, they received a 1.5 percent raise.


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