ESP Contract Highlights

ESP living wage

After years of fighting for respect and a living wage, locals are winning major advances for Education Support Professionals. Recent contracts have included 20, 30 and even 40 percent increases in pay. Here are some highlights from recent contracts.

[Updated in Fall 2023]

Bourne Educational Support Personnel: Historic increases in wages for this unit of the Bourne Educators Association, with the starting hourly wage now $21, or about $25,000 annually in the first year. The top step will increase to about $31 an hour, or $36,000 annually, by the contract’s end. All steps on the schedule will be increased between 19 percent and 24 percent. In addition, the contract expands guaranteed use of bereavement leave, increases pay for substitutes and adds fair substitution language. December 2022

Braintree Paraeducators: Contract highlights include wage increases in the first year of 6 percent, Year 2 of 8.5 percent and Year 3 of 8.5 percent. COLA increases of 1.5 percent, 2.5 percent and 5 percent, respectively for a total of 23 percent over the life of the contract. Other benefits for the unit of the Braintree Education Association include more inclusive bereavement language, four weeks of employer-paid parental leave including adoption and up to $60-a-day in substitute pay. May 2023

Brockton standout
Brockton Education Support Professionals secured a 40 to 49 percent pay increase over the course of the contract.

Brockton Support Professionals: Successfully merged two ESP locals into the Brockton Education Support Professional Association, a preK-12 standalone ESP local. New hourly base increase of $2, $2 and $2.25 for each consecutive year. This means that some ESP members will earn up to $40,000 by the contract’s end. This represents a 40 percent increase in pay. Some members will see up to a 49 percent increase, approximately $11,000, by the contract’s end. October 2022

Brookline: The Brookline Educators Union won a strong contract for its ESP unit. Highlights include the addition of many benefits that are equal to BEU teachers, including shortened probationary periods, involuntary transfer protections and access to the Sick Leave Bank on Day 1. In addition, paraprofessionals have access to sub pay before it goes to an outside sub, and most importantly, a wage floor of nearly $40,000 that significantly moves the needle toward a living wage. June 2023

Dedham Educational Interventionists and Paraprofessionals: The educational interventionists, a unit of the Dedham Education Association, settled a two-year contract with a total COLA increase of 12 percent, and an increase in each longevity category in in both years by $100. The paraprofessionals settled a similar contract that includes a 17 percent wage increase and a $100 increase for each longevity category over two years. In addition, building substitutes will receive a 2.5 percent increase in Year 1 and a 3.5 percent increase in Year 2. June 2023

LABBB Collaborative Unit B: A one-year contact include wages between $30,512 and $39,937, just cause language after completing 90 calendar days of service, union rights, duty-free lunch, $30 an hour for compensatory time (work beyond regular work day), $100 stipend for overnight student trips, increase in tuition reimbursement funds from $10,000 to $20,000, allowing members to be reimbursed up to $2,335 a year, up to $500 reimbursement for professional development, mileage reimbursement, increased substitute pay by $15 an hour, the formation of a Labor Management Committee, ability to cash-in accumulated sick time at a rate of 25 percent of per diem rate after 10 years of service, and much more. September 2022

Malden Education Support Professionals: The new contract has a $30,000 base with yearly additions of 2.5 percent and 2.5 percent. Other financial benefits include an increase in longevity pay of $250 on all levels and up to $600 in-service credits. Other benefits include extended leaves of absence, up to six work weeks of paid parental leave and an additional paid work week using accumulated sick leave, temporary leaves of absence of up to five paid days, an account of $30,000 for tuition reimbursement, allocating up to $500 per member, health and safety language and an individual Chromebook/laptop. October 2022

Martha’s Vineyard: The contract restructured the wage scale by reducing the number of steps from nine to five in the first year, then adding three new steps for Years 2 and 3; 8.5 percent COLA over three years; additional $5 differential. Members will see increases of $6,705 to $25,659 and will earn as much as $51,000. October 2022

Melrose Paraprofessionals: The contract includes stronger parental leave language, increases in longevity pay and changes in steps which lead to substantial wage increases. By the end of the contract, ESPs in the Melrose Education Association will earn $29,000 or more, and therapist assistants will earn $35,000 or more. December 2022

Middleton: The Middleton Educators Association organized a new unit for Middleton paraprofessionals in 2023. For their first contract, ESPs were able to ratify a two-year deal with raise increases ranging from 25 percent to 35 percent, get just cause protections, substitute pay, $750 premium pay, a significant increase in sick and personal time and several stipends. January 2023

Newburyport Instructional Assistants: Wage increases for specialists of up to 14 percent depending on their step. Wage increases of up to 13 percent for generalists for the life of the contract. Newburyport ESPs will now earn up to $37,500 by 2025. July 2022

Reads Collaborative: The specialized educational assistants will go from a starting salary of $23,827 for the 2022-2023 school year to $30,195 in 2023-2024 and get a 3 percent increase in Year 2 and again in Year 3. Interpreters working in the deaf and hard-of-hearing program will have starting rates increase from $42,904 in 2022-2023 to $50,003 in 2023-2024 and will also get 3 percent increases in Years 2 and 3. The SLPAs will go from $41,199 in 2022-2023 to the same starting rate for interpreters, and also get the 3 percent boost in Years 2 and 3. May 2023

Saugus Clerks: Contract highlights include wage increases through a market adjustment of $1,250 on base, plus 2 percent; $1,100 market adjustment plus 2 percent; and $1,100 market adjustment plus 3 percent over the life of the contract. Seeking better wages for all members, the Saugus School Clerical Association merged the lowest-paid members (junior clerks) into the highest wage schedule (senior clerks). This increased wages for some members by $7,300, representing between 16 percent and 19 percent increases. The contract also established $3,000 a year for professional development and formed a Professional Development Joint Committee, while adding stronger grievance language, mileage reimbursement, additional vacation days and holidays. January 2023

Saugus Instructional Assistants: Wage increases include 20 percent, 10 percent and a 5 percent COLA. Other benefits include parental leave, two additional bereavement days, an additional 50 days accumulated sick days, ability to roll over two personal days into the following school year, adoption leave language, stronger grievance language, bereavement language that includes miscarriage, upon retirement the ability to donate 25 sick days to sick bank, ability to accumulate an additional 10 days of sick time, association leave, a 403(b) plan, up to $500 per year in sick leave incentive and an additional $15 a day for subbing. May 2023

Stoneham Clerical: Highest wage increase: $500 added to base plus 4 percent; $500 to the base plus 4 percent increase; $500 on base plus 4 percent increase. Stoneham clerical members, a unit of the Stoneham Education Association, will earn as much as $45,000 by the end of the contract. December 2022

Wakefield Instructional Support Personnel: Historic yearly increases of 15.5 percent, 2 percent and 2.25 percent, with an increase of two more days of professional development. Wakefield paraprofessionals will earn up to $34,000 by the contract’s end. June 2022

Wellesley Support Professionals: Strong organizing led to transformative wage increases for ESPs including COLA increases of 15 percent over three years, longevity increases of 15 percent and retention payments of up to $4,000 for Year 1 and $3,000 and $1,000 in subsequent years. Other benefits for the unit of the Wellesley Educators Association include leave bank, three additional paid holidays, up to two additional personal days, defined sick bank language, and more. May 2023
Bourne standout
Bourne ESPs earned historic increases in wages with the starting hourly wage of $21, or about $25,000 annually in the first year.

Wilmington Instructional Assistants: The ESP unit of the Wilmington Teachers Association settled the best contract in its history. The contract has wage increases between $5,420 to $9,100 over three years, representing as much as a 29.44 percent increase. By the end of the contract, Wilmington IAs will have wages between $22,232 and $34,680, as compared to $16,826 to $28,990 in FY 2022. Other benefits include substitute pay increases, an assigned school district device, a $500 increase in longevity pay, common planning time for general education tutors, seven family sick days and three additional holidays. May 2022

Worcester Paraeducators: After more than 17 months of negotiations, the Worcester paraeducators, a unit of the Educational Association of Worcester, won a historic contract, ranking among the best financial settlements in decades in Massachusetts. For 2022-2023, the contract includes a $1,600, one-time payment and a 3 percent retroactive payment; differential pay that reflects education up to $2,500 over base; elimination of pay scale steps 1-4; summer pay of $30 an hour and an increase in meeting pay by $95. For FY 2023-2024, the contract has an increase of 3 percent on base and a complete revision of the scale. The former top step (9) becomes the new step 1, with 6 steps total and 2.5 percent increases between each step. Annual salaries will range between $33,094 and $39,943. In addition, the contract provides $1,000 stipends for specialized work. In fiscal years 2024-2025 and 2025-2026, the contract has COLAs of 3 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively. During FY 2025-2026, paraeducators’ salaries will range between $35,280 and $42,416. Other benefits include sick leave bank, bereavement leave, maternity/parental leave language clarification, joint committee, and more. May 2023

Worcester Transportation: Another historic win with 5 to 17 percent increases. Ten-month drivers will earn $30 an hour. Steps were eliminated. Bonuses of $500 to $1,000. June 2022