May 30, 2005- Some unionized teachers in the St. Thomas-St. John district got a windfall in the recent payroll. The head of the teachers' union says the extra cash represented retroactive pay from a previous contract agreement.
"This retroactive pay was based on the 2003-2004 salary increases that were not given until … this current school year," said Vernelle de Lagarde, president of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 1825. She said AFT members in the St. Croix district saw some of their back pay show up in the first payroll for the month of May.
Lump-sum payments averaging $700 were reflected on the payroll stubs handed out to district teachers on Thursday. Some were so startled they called the union office to find out where the money came from, de Lagarde said. They were assured that the money was theirs.
"It's a one-time pay out. Some members thought it looked good in their check and they would like to see this each and every payday. But we are still going through the process of negotiating the 2004-2005 salary increase. We are to the point now of approaching mediation," the union leader said.
But, she said, there are still some teachers who did not receive their back pay. AFT officials are asking those members to call the union office at 776-1825 to let them know. "There are some members who fell through the crack and they have not yet received their salary increases for 2003-2004, so their retro should look a lot bigger when they receive it," she said.
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