Morales reinstated; Black Friday actions planned

Gus Morales Back in the Classroom

In a victory for activism and members' rights to speak their minds about important education policies, Holyoke Teachers Association President Gus Morales was back at work on Monday, Nov. 24. He was reinstated as a teacher after the HTA and Holyoke Public Schools reached a settlement in a case concerning protected speech. For more on the agreement, go here.

The case stemmed from the district's decision to non-renew Morales at the end of last school year. The HTA filed a charge with the Department of Labor Relations contending that the non-renewal was retaliatory. The DLR issued a complaint noting that Morales received negative evaluations only after he became active in the HTA and began criticizing certain district policies, such as the decision to post student assessment results on publicly available "data walls."

Morales was assisted by members of MTA's legal, affiliate services and communications divisions. To help other members who have questions about their rights, MTA's Legal Division recently issued guidance on when your speech may be protected and when it may not. Although this memorandum specifically addresses speech related to discussing opting out of testing requirements, it offers guidance on the broader issue of protected speech. This guidance is posted here in the members' area of our website. Please note that you will need your user name and password to log in.

Hold the Waltons Accountable on "Black Friday"

The Walton family, whose members own Walmart, are worth $150 billion, yet they pay poverty wages. On top of that, they pour millions of dollars into efforts to undermine public education. For more information on this subject, click here.

On Friday, Nov. 28, MTA members will gather with other social justice activists at Walmart stores across Massachusetts and in other states to support Walmart workers in their fight to earn $15 an hour and for more full-time work. No one in America who works at a company with $16 billion a year in profits should be unable to put dinner on the table.

To sign up for an action near you, click here.

To be a team captain or lead an action, contact Edwin Argueta of Jobs With Justice at 617.524.8778.

I hope you have a chance to spend time with friends and family members this week. Despite our challenges, we have much to be thankful for here in Massachusetts. Enjoy the break!