Dozens of clerical staff and education support professionals including paraprofessional and special education aids picketed outside Monday night’s Mt. Lebanon School Board meeting, fighting for a fair wage.
These employees make less than $14/hour as a starting wage, which is less than some fast-food workers and Sheetz employees. Matt Edgell with the PA Education Association says these professionals are overworked and underpaid for all their jobs require.
“It’s just not right and it’s not respectful,” Edgell tells Channel 11. “It’s just come to a moment where it’s just not right. $13.88 is really a slap in the face and you’re moving up from there. It doesn’t get much better.”
Edgell says these employees, who are at every grade level and in every school building, have been fighting for a fair contract since June. He says staffing problems are forcing even more work on many employees who can’t just step away from students who need the most help and support. Many of them can’t even take a lunch break because many students require round-the-clock care.
“It’s a standard of living that’s above poverty rate, which is what they’re asking for,” Edgell added. They feel a bit taken advantage of there. They aid the co-teachers in the classroom, they take care of the child’s physical needs on an up-close-and-personal basis, like changing diapers.”
The Mt. Lebanon School District sent Channel 11 the following statement:
“The Mt. Lebanon School District values the work of all of our employees and is committed to the fair treatment of each individual within our District. We have participated in several meetings with the representatives of the Mt. Lebanon Secretarial/Aides Education Support Professionals Association, and continue to work in good faith to come to a fair agreement that treats our employees well while remaining fiscally responsible. We do not comment on bargaining matters outside of negotiations and believe these matters are best remedied at the bargaining table and not in public through social media or other rhetoric in the community.
“We will continue to work with our team and their representatives to come to a conclusion that is both fair and equitable as we keep in mind the mission of our District to provide the best possible education to each and every student.”
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