The Fund Our Future campaign is ready to launch. This past weekend, the MTA Board voted to endorse the campaign and provide funding for this once-in-a-generation campaign to win a massive reinvestment in our students and our schools and colleges. There will be a press kickoff of the coalition effort on Tuesday, Dec. 18, in the State House.
There are plenty of ways for members to become involved in the campaign while continuing to engage on local issues. Yes, it sometimes feels like juggling, but I prefer to think of it as lifting weights: Building union muscle while working on one issue makes us stronger for when we take on another.
While the specific issues may differ, the common thread running through them is that public education thrives when it is fully funded — and when educators are respected and have the autonomy to determine how and what to teach our students. Here are some powerful recent local victories.
HEArt of Haverhill on Display
Free Speech for Educators in Newton
In Newton, association members and community residents, including recent high school graduates, stood together in defense of critical thinking and academic freedom. After a forum — held as a result of petitioning by a virulently Islamophobic national organization seeking to fire Newton educators for daring to present students with sources of information on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — the School Committee voted unanimously to support the teachers and district.
MEJA Winter Assembly on December 15
Building bridges with parents and other community residents will be key to winning the Fund Our Future campaign. A great place to make connections is the upcoming winter assembly of the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance, which runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Boston Teachers Union Hall, 180 Mount Vernon Street in Dorchester. MEJA members represent students, parents, faith leaders and civil rights groups, all important allies in the fight for public education.
UMass Unions Secure Raises after Call-In Action
While some of our higher education units continue to fight for fair contracts and timely contract implementation, we can see the effects of union power on the UMass campuses. When staff and faculty with settled contracts heard that their raises and retroactive pay were not going to be provided on schedule, union members from every campus organized a blitz of phone calls to UMass President Marty Meehan and flooded social media with messages warning that more actions were coming. The next day, the UMass administration informed the unions that members would be properly paid - and on time. Our members won that skirmish; now they are on to the bigger battle to win substantial new funding for all of public higher education through the Fund Our Future campaign.