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Ledyard school paraprofessionals vote to unionize

Ledyard — Paraprofessionals in the school system voted 82-7 earlier this month to join Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The union representation election was the first in Council 4 to be conducted entirely by mail-in ballot, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bargaining unit includes 130 paraprofessionals at all five schools in the district.

Council 4 organizer Renee Hamel said paraprofessionals noticed that all other employees in the school system are part of a union, and they pushed the campaign to unionize so they could have their seat at the proverbial table and be heard. She said they held car parades to the post office to mail in their ballots together.

Kelly Martinez, organizing director, said after the schools closed and they couldn't meet in person, members started hosting weekly Zoom meetings to discuss unionization. She credited their drive and momentum to stay together as a team.



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