Moshannon Valley Education Support Professionals Vote to Unionize
Meet the newest local assocation in the PSEA family: the Moshannon Valley Education Support Professional Association (MVESPA).
Last year, personal care aide Kelly Deltufo was told by the Moshannon Valley School Board that she was no longer entitled to her annual salary increase, because the district had already increased her salary to meet the state’s new minimum wage.
Deltufo and her support staff colleagues finally had enough of the school board’s disrespect and voted in September to unionize with PSEA. The new association represents secretaries and paraprofessionals in the Moshannon Valley School District in Clearfield County, Central Region.
The Moshannon Valley Education Support Professional Association (MVESPA) was elected by a unanimous vote of the workers. MVESPA leaders say that despite their small potential membership of 23 employees, they intend to be a powerful voice for their members.
“We’re here because the school board wasn’t hearing our voice. We were given a plan from the board about our salaries, benefits and working conditions and they asked for no input from us,” said Lisa Bacher, the MVESPA Vice President. “We went to the school board to talk to them and they would not even look at us or speak to us. That was not respectful at all.”
The new members of the MVESPA elected new officers and began work on their constitution and bylaws in September. They will begin meeting to put together a bargaining proposal this fall.
“They just keep taking from us, including forcing us to pay a five percent premium for our health care and giving us only a small salary increase. They asked us to pay for our benefits when no one else in the district was paying. For many of the workers, this premium payment actually meant less money in their paychecks. Morale really went down and when we tried to talk to the school board about our concerns, they ignored us,” said MVESPA member Louann Boulton.
The final breaking point for the workers was when the school board decided to increase the number of hours that support staff work in the summer without providing any additional compensation.
Teacher members of the Moshannon Valley Education Association encouraged the support staff workers to unionize. The MVEA has provided a financial contribution to the MVESPA’s treasury and paid their cluster dues for the year. MVEA President Tom Marcinko attended the first meeting of the MVESPA and pledged the MVEA’s support for the new association.
MVESPA President Cindy Nadvit said her goal is ensure that the concerns of her members are heard and respected at the negotiations table. “We hope to work together with the administration and the school board to facilitate a good working environment for our members. That is our goal,” said MVESPA President Cindy Nadvit.
The new officers of the Moshannon Valley ESP: (Left to right) Secretary/ Treasurer: Kathryn Grace; President: Cindy Nadvit: Vice President: Lisa Bacher, and the new members of the Moshannon Valley ESP, joined by ESP Region President Dawn Bandle and ESP Central Division President Pat Weaver.