BENNINGTON – The Vermont Department of Labor has ordered the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union to pay within 30 days all back wages due to its teachers in response to a complaint filed by the teachers union in December.
The members of the Southwestern Vermont Education Association had complained that the supervisory union had “willfully withheld” almost $300,0000 in salaries.
The teachers union went on strike in October after failing to reach an agreement on a contract. Teachers had been working without a contract for more than a year when the strike was called.
After the strike ended, a new contract, ratified by both sides in November, was in place which gave teachers a raise and decreased the amount they paid toward health insurance coverage. However, teachers said their paychecks were not reflecting those changes.
Officials with the supervisory union said those changes would be in place by January and that by the end of the school year, teachers would have all the money they’re due.
The order from the Department of Labor said the supervisory union couldn’t wait.
“The (collective bargaining agreement) being ratified and in force, any discrepancy between wages earned and wages actually paid, prior to the ratification of the (collective bargaining agreement) is now due in full,” the order said.
In a statement, Stephannie Peters, a teacher at the Career Development Center and president of the Southwestern Vermont Education Association said she hopes the supervisory union “will comply with the order and stop the incessant delays and excuses it has used for months.”
-Patrick McArdle | Staff Reporter