Norwich City School District ratifies support staff contract

NORWICH – After nearly two years of negotiations and 15 months without a contract, an agreement has finally been reached between the Norwich City School District and the support staff union.

The board of education ratified the Norwich Education Support Staff Association’s new contract at Tuesday night’s school board meeting. The five-year contract is retroactive to June 2007, when NESSA’s previous agreement expired.

“I am very happy that it has been approved,” said Superintendent Gerard O’Sullivan.

The settlement agreement signed by O’Sullivan and NESSA President Trish Pepe was presented to the organization’s membership on Sept. 3. According to Pepe, the group represents roughly 200 support staff members including custodians, maintenance, nurses, food service workers, bus drivers, secretaries, computer technicians, aides and assistants.

A total of 154 NESSA members voted on the contract last week. The agreement passed 88 to 66.

“We are very happy,” said Pepe, of the board’s decision to approve the contract. The negotiation was a long one for the union president and the others involved in the process. Most items were settled in the first two-day meeting held in April of 2007, but negotiations reached an impasse on several occasions over salary and health insurance.

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