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Opinion: RNeSU, Neshobe boards were right in union dispute

I have noticed several Support Your Local Support Staff signs in my travels to Brandon lately. And I have seen several postings on Facebook as well about the situation with the paraeducators’ and bus drivers’ contract that has been imposed upon the employees. The boards have said in a statement that they are willing to negotiate for the 2016 contract year. 
So, it must mean that if I believe the school boards took the correct action that I don’t support these employees. Some of the staff members are friends of mine. That being said, after 18 months of talks and still no settlement, I feel that after seeing information from both sides, the boards did what seemed fair and logical.
Read the statements by the Factfinders on the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union webpage at rnesu.org, then click the link that says Board Statement Regarding Support Staff Contract for FY 15. I am amazed that people find that employees have the right to strike should they so wish, yet when it comes to imposing a contract, as distasteful as that is, that employers are vilified. And it is the taxpayers’ money that is being discussed in this situation.
At some point when negotiations fail and budgets are set and passed by voters, management needs to move on. And amazingly in Brandon one of the big discussions this year was town employee insurance contributions. So when looking at what the RNeSU and Neshobe boards asked of employees it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me to seek an increase in insurance contributions by employees.
A person on Medicare generally has $10 a month taken out of their Social Security check. And many people don’t make $20,000 a year on Social Security. That is over $1,000 a year from these folks. According to the RNeSU for a family plan of $21,000 the employee pays a little over $700 a year and the rest is paid by the taxpayers through the budget process.
I support my friends yet when I saw the information after seeing several posts and links for signing petitions, I decided that the RNeSU and Neshobe boards in my opinion took the correct course of action. These boards have offered to negotiate the 2016 contract, which is more than fair.
And if you don’t believe these boards are acting in good faith and in your best interests, then come Election Day you have a chance to do something about it. And that time is coming up quickly.
Brian E. Fillioe
Proctor
       

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