What a week it has been! Member power was on display as Dedham educators took to the streets and the House passed the Student Opportunity Act, paving the way for school districts to receive $1.5 billion above inflation in new annual state aid as of 2027.
Dedham Educators Reach Agreement
Dedham Education Association members voted nearly unanimously to go on strike last Thursday. They picketed and marched on Friday, marched and bargained on Saturday, reached a tentative agreement on Sunday and ratified a new contract on Monday. In true labor-movement fashion, they were joined in solidarity by members of dozens of MTA locals, AFT Massachusetts, the Boston Teachers Union, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and the Massachusetts Nurses Association. Their rapid success followed months of no negotiations and no progress. This was the first strike by an educators’ union in Massachusetts since Quincy members went out 12 years ago. Read the latest on our website and be sure to read this Boston Globe article, which puts Dedham’s action into a national historical context.
House Passes Student Opportunity Act
After a yearlong grassroots campaign by the MTA and our allies in the Fund Our Future coalition, the state House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the Student Opportunity Act on Oct. 23. The Senate had passed its version on Oct. 3. If signed into law, this historic measure will provide more state funds to all districts, with most of the money going to low-income communities. The Senate bill gives more authority to parents and educators and the House gives more to the commissioner of education. The bills have gone to a six-member House and Senate conference committee to hammer out differences. Please let your legislators know that you believe parents and educators know best what our students need!
MTA Endorses the ROE Act
The MTA and five other unions announced their support on Monday for the ROE Act, joining nearly 60 organizations that back an effort to protect abortion access in Massachusetts. MTA’s Board of Directors voted to support the legislation on Oct. 19. In my comments, I concluded, “We need the ROE Act now more than ever to protect the rights of our students, our members, and of all women in the state to have access to safe, affordable abortion care.”
Bargaining Summit Held Saturday
The mood was jovial at the fifth annual MTA Bargaining Summit on Saturday. With a few hundred MTA members attending in teams from their locals and higher ed chapters, we strategized about how to use open and coordinated bargaining to fight for racial and economic justice in our contracts and for our schools and colleges. One member summed up the way forward by explaining that we can no longer negotiate by and for ourselves. Bargaining has to be done with, by and for our members, students, parents and our communities if we are going to win the schools and communities we all deserve.