Delegates re-elect MTA president, vote to support campaign against charter expansion

Barbara Madeloni was re-elected as MTA president and Erik Champy was elected to serve as vice president on Saturday, May 14, at the association’s 171st Annual Meeting of Delegates.

Delegates also approved full funding of the association’s recommended share of the Save Our Public Schools coalition, which is fighting a ballot initiative that would lift the cap on charter schools. The MTA is a leading member of the group.

Erik Champy Erik Champy

Barbara Madeloni Barbara Madeloni

In the three-way contest for president, Madeloni received 805 votes, while Vice President Janet Anderson received 479 and former Vice President Timothy Sullivan received 291.

In the contest for vice president, Champy won with 629 votes in a runoff election.

The runoff was required because none of the three candidates in the initial vote won a majority. In the first vote for vice president, Merrie Najimy received 703 votes, Champy received 613 and Mike Shannon received 249.

Representing more than 110,000 members across Massachusetts, the 1,647 registered delegates also conducted a wide array of other association business during the two-day meeting at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, including passing the operating and Public Relations/Organizing Campaign budgets for the next fiscal year. They debated proposed changes to the association’s bylaws and resolutions and considered a number of new business items.

Madeloni was initially elected to the presidency in 2014. Her new term will begin on July 15, as will the term of the new vice president.

As Madeloni addressed the delegates on Friday evening, she stated, “We have accomplished a lot in a short amount of time, and we’re just getting started. We have started on a noble course. We cannot go back.”

After the vote, she said she was “energized and excited by the members’ decision to continue to move the MTA forward.”

The delegates’ vote to fund the Save Our Public Schools campaign underscored the association’s commitment to fight a pro-charter initiative headed for the state ballot this November. The measure would add up to 12 Commonwealth charter schools per year without end. The measure could lead to the loss of billions of dollars in public school funding to charters.

The delegates approved an operating budget of $45,786,576 for fiscal 2017 after adding $10,000 for The Massachusetts Child charity. A Public Relations/Organizing Campaign budget of $2,591,400 was also adopted. The PR/Organizing budget will be dedicated to the Save Our Public Schools campaign.

The delegates adopted the following new business items:

  • The MTA will actively support striking sections of the Massachusetts Acts of 2012 concerning how seniority is used in layoff decisions.
  • The MTA will lobby the state Legislature to repeal sections of the Acts of 2012 related to the current educator evaluation framework.
  • The MTA will oppose any efforts by the governor or Legislature that would adversely affect current and future members’ health care coverage upon retirement, including changes to minimum eligibility age, years of service required, and/or percentage of premiums to be paid, and the MTA will work with unions and other allies in an effort to defeat such potential attacks.

Bylaws that were adopted called for a reduction in the dues of higher education members who work less than half-time or who teach less than three credits per semester; a reduction in the dues of active members with base salaries of less than $18,000; and an increase in the number of district directors for the Massachusetts State College Association. All four of the proposed amendments to the MTA Resolutions were adopted.

In addition to deciding statewide leadership contests, the delegates filled positions on the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors and the Retired Members Committee.

On Saturday, the delegates heard remarks by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who was honored with the association’s 2016 Friend of Labor award; Steven Tolman, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, who received this year’s Friend of Education award; and Audrey Jackson, the 2016 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year. Delegates also honored the ESP of the Year, Saul Ramos of the Educational Association of Worcester.

The President’s Award honored three student activists who embody the spirit of student activism: Italo Fini, a junior at Worcester Technical High School; Fania Joseph, a sophomore at Boston Community Leadership Academy, and Ruthie Page Weinbaum, a student at Amherst-Pelham Regional Middle School. Fini and Joseph were on hand to address the delegates.

Madeloni praised the young activists. “Students have been central to many social movements in this country,” she said, adding that she was inspired by “their courage, imagination and persistence.”

Also on Saturday, Matthew Lyons of IBEW 2222, representing striking Verizon workers, addressed the delegates.

“We are 31 days out” on strike, he told the delegates. He urged the crowd to show support for the strikers in any way possible.

“If you happen to see strikers outside Verizon stores, pull over and give them an hour of time on the picket line,” he suggested to the cheering delegates.

Use the hashtag #mtaam to see coverage of the 2016 Annual Meeting of Delegates on Twitter.