Union praises school board

The union representing non-certified school employees in Bristol credited the Board of Education for making significant strides in improving labor-management relations and employee morale, a press release from the union said.

“The current Board of Education deserves a great deal of credit for rebuilding trust with the workers we represent,” said AFSCME Local 2267 president Chad Lockhart, Head Custodian at Northeast Middle School in a press release. “It’s a massive turnaround from the constant conflict of previous years. Together, we’re getting things done for the school community by working together and listening to each other’s concerns.”

AFSCME Local 2267 represents 275 members, including custodians and maintainers, food service workers and para-educators.

The press release reported Lockhart said an evolving spirit of cooperation has yielded several positive outcomes, including the recent settlement of a new collective bargaining agreement, the resolution of outstanding contract grievances and efforts to address inadequate staffing levels.

The five-year contract between AFSCME Local 2267 and the Board of Education includes general wage increases and other economic enhancements in return for the workers accepting a wage freeze (for the first year of the agreement) and higher premium cost shares, said the news release from the union.

“I think this Board of Education is genuinely committed to working with our members to ensure that schools are operating at peak efficiency,” said Council 4 Associate Director of Collective Bargaining and Organizing, Patrick Sampson, who is a Bristol resident, reported the press release. “We’ve resolved issues to the satisfaction of both sides, and with the best interests of Bristol students and taxpayers in mind.”

The press release said, Bristol Board of Education Chairman Chris Wilson said that improved labor-management relations has served the interests of students, staff and the community.

“Negotiations between our Board and the AFSCME union have been handled with mutual respect and professionalism,” Wilson commented, according to the press release. “The school system and the constituents we represent deserve no less.”