Quincy teachers ratify contract

The members of the Quincy Education Association voted overwhelmingly June 21 to ratify a new contract, ending a contract dispute that had led to the first teachers' strike in Massachusetts in more than a decade.

QEA President Paul Phillips said that he and the members are "tremendously relieved" that the contract is now settled, though he added that "no one is jumping for joy" about the deal the teachers received

The 890 Quincy teachers went on strike on June 8 after working without a contract for more than 10 months. Schools were closed during the strike and not a single teacher crossed the picket lines. Other school employees and MTA members from nearby communities supported the striking teachers.

A tentative agreement between the QEA and the Quincy School Committee was reached on June 13, at which time the teachers voted to go back to work the next day. Since the school year was extended by four days to make up for the lost time, no QEA members lost any pay; however, the association still faces a $150,000 fine.

The agreement calls for two consecutive contracts spanning five years, including one year retroactively. After considering the contract for a week as per the QEA by-laws, the members voted to ratify it by a vote of 620 to 43. The contract includes a raise of 17 percent over five years, while also requiring teachers to double their health care premium contribution from 10 percent to 20 percent.