To the editor:
Shock. Disappoinment. Betrayal.
These are some of the emotions I felt as I read .
I was shocked to learn that the average teacher will be receiving a 5-7 percent salary increase. I will only be receiving a 1 percent cost of living adjustment next year—as part of the agreement the MEA (Melrose Education Association) made with the city two years ago—and wonder how the average teacher managed to receive more than our bargained increase.
After taking a wage freeze, which amounted to a pay cut for most, the MEA received the previously negotiated 2 percent COLA this year and 1 percent next year. Teachers who have not reached the 11th year base salary are climbing the steps of delayed compensation. Some teachers will receive compensation for their own investment in graduate course-work.
I was disappointed to read that Mayor Dolan does not understand how the teacher contract works. His mistaken averaging may lead people to think teachers received large raises this year, causing public hostility towards any increases in the future. This misunderstanding also seems inconsistent with his other press conference remarks regarding teacher pay: "I would argue that although we’re among the lowest, we’re making a heck of a good run at trying to be better."
I felt betrayed when I read Mayor Dolan’s statements about health insurance premiums. The MEA agreed to enter the GIC to save the city an initial $1.2 million compared to the previous—more expensive—insurance plan. The city’s savings continue annually, while MEA members have seen their actual health care costs increase over the last four years.
I ask the community to recognize Mayor Dolan’s lack of attention to detail. The giveback and health insurance concessions were major sacrifices made by all public employees to help maintain important city services.