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Sunnyside School District secretaries get new contract

At its February meeting, the Sunnyside School Board approved a new contract with the Public School Employees of Washington (PSE) secretaries bargaining unit.

The contract approved by the board is retroactive to Sept. 1, 2003. The contract will expire Aug. 31, 2006.

The contract doesn't cover any secretaries working in the school district's central administration office.

The contract approved by the board assures district administration of its basic rights to hire, promote, retain, transfer or reassign any employee. District administration is also assured the right to suspend, discharge, demote or take other needed disciplinary action against an employee.

District secretaries, under the contract, are assured of the right to freely participate in the PSE association. Employees are also given the right to bring matters of personal concern to the attention of appropriate association representatives. Employees will also have the right to fully access the services offered by the PSE association.

The contract also lays out that employees are entitled to no more than a one-hour lunch break midway through their shifts and are entitled to a 15-minute break after every four hours of work. Any employee who has to work through their lunch hour and is not given another hour to make up for the lost time will be compensated at an overtime rate.

The contract also details the paid holidays district secretaries are entitled to, including New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, the day before Christmas and Christmas.

District secretaries are entitled to 12 sick days per work year. Secretaries are also eligible to be financially reimbursed for any unused sick leave.

The salaries for each head secretary in the district are scheduled to remain unchanged through 2006 at a rate of $14.92 per hour. The next level, secretary I, will also not see any pay increases through the term of the contract, staying at $13.49 per hour.

Positions defined as secretary II will be paid $12.37 per hour for the 2003-04 school year. That pay rate will increase to $12.74 per hour for 2004-05. In the 2005-06 school year, the rate of pay will increase to $13.11 per hour, topping out at $13.49 for the 2006-07 calendar year.

Entry level secretaries are set to make $11.35 for the 2003-04 year. That amount will increase to $11.72 in 2004-05. For the 2005-06 year, entry level secretaries will receive $11.99 per hour with a max rate of $12.37 for the 2006-07 year.

The contract also calls for each employee who is beginning their 13th year of employment to receive a 25ยข per hour longevity stipend.

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