A Few Words About Your HEA Contract

One of the important responsibilities of the HEA is to negotiate the contract or collective bargaining agreement for the membership.  Every one to three years we select a bargaining team, from our own membership, to represent us at the bargaining table where we meet with representatives of the Hudson School Committee.

At the bargaining table the HEA proposes changes which are suggested by you, the members of the HEA.  When the two teams reach agreement it, must be approved or ratified by the general membership and by the entire school committee.  When ratified, your salary, your benefits, and your work year, week and day are established for the term of the contract.

It is important to familiarize yourself with our contract, as it is a legally binding document that specifies our rights and responsibilities as Hudson Public Schools employees.  To facilitate this process we have highlighted some important articles that may answer some questions that come up as you begin your tenure as a teacher in our system.

Time is always a concern for teachers.  We never seem to have enough of it. Occasionally you may need to take time off.  The HEA has negotiated provisions in our contract to allow for such occasions.  You are eligible for:
Sick Leave
Each year you are credited 12 sick leave days for the year.  After you obtain professional status you will be entitled to 13 days.  Days that go unused will accumulate from year to year.

If you are ill, contact your building principal and coverage will be arranged for you.  There is no need to explain your illness - a simple, "I will be out sick tomorrow," is sufficient.

Personal Leave
You are entitled to 2 personal days each year.  These days are yours to use to attend to legal, business, religious, household or family matters that require absence during school hours.   Simply submit the form the district provides a minimum of 24 hours prior to the day.  You may accumulate ONE Personal day for the following year.  Unused personal day over the one carried will be converted to sick leave. See contact or more specifics.

Bereavement Leave
You may take between 1 and 5 days off in the event of a death of a family member/close friend.  The number of days is based on the nature of the relationship.  See  contract for a complete explanation.

Extended Leaves of Absences
Sometimes it is necessary to take more than five days off to attend to life matters.  Consult contract for specifics.

Important Issues and Concerns

Professional Teacher Status
PTS is a term of law.  It refers to the protection which is afforded to a teacher, generally after completing three years of teaching in a particular system.

The PTS Law (Mass General Laws c.71, Section 41) states in part:

A teacher, school librarian, school adjustment counselor, school social worker or school psychologist who has served in the public schools of a school district for the three previous consecutive school years shall be considered a teacher, and shall be entitled to professional teacher status…

A teacher without PTS may be dismissed or non-renewed at the end of any school year with no requirement for the employer to state a reason for non-renewal.  Under most circumstances, the non-renewed teacher has no recourse to challenge the decision.  For this reason, your first three years are critical in your teaching career.  They are essentially probationary.  The areas that are often most problematic are:

"        Performance evaluation,
"        Personality conflict with administrators,
"        Incidents with students and/or parents.

We strongly urge you to seek advice and counsel from your Association at the first sign of a potential problem.  (Your building representative or a union officer.)

What To Do If You Are Called To The Office
If you know the reason, and it is non-threatening, there is no problem.  But, if you suspect that there may be a problem, any hint of reprimand, discipline, or unsatisfactory handling of a situation, call an HEA representative.  In 1975, the US Supreme Court decided in NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc., that employees are entitled to union representation in any meeting in which you reasonably believe that disciplinary action might result. 

The key here is the phrase, "reasonably believe that disciplinary action might result".  If the meeting starts out friendly, and takes a turn toward inquiry or accusation, you may ask for union representation.  You must ask for union representation - it is not the responsibility of administration to inform you of your rights to representation.

Use the links below to access the current contract