As Thanksgiving approaches, there is much to be grateful for. Let’s celebrate our co-workers — especially ESPs — during American Education Week, stand with MTA locals struggling for contract fairness, and show solidarity with still-striking Battery Wharf Hotel workers in Boston and Teamsters Local 25 trash collectors in Marshfield.
Celebrate ESPs During American Education Week
Wednesday, Nov. 20, is Education Support Professionals Day, a day to honor all of the secretaries, classroom paraprofessional educators, maintenance workers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and others who proudly serve our students every day. ESP Day is part of national American Education Week, which will take place from Monday, Nov. 18, to Friday, Nov. 22. Please join me in recognizing all MTA ESPs for their outstanding work and dedication — and be sure to tag @massteacher (as well as @massteacherESP on Instagram) on any social media posts you share during this week of celebration.
ESP of the Year Nominations — Deadline Extended!
The deadline for 2020 MTA ESP of the Year nominations has been extended to Sunday, Dec. 15. Please nominate an ESP who is leading in your local, on your campus or in your school. The winner will receive the award at the MTA ESP Conference on Cape Cod in April and will become the MTA’s nominee for national ESP of the Year in 2021.
Member Activism Is on the Rise
Members in MTA locals across the state are building their collective power to demand the fairness and respect they deserve. In Swampscott, a canceled School Committee meeting didn’t stop the Swampscott Education Association from going forward with a planned rally this week to push for a fair contract and protest what it believes is retaliation against the SEA president. Newton Teachers Association members are increasingly exasperated at the slow pace of contract negotiations in their city and are having conversations about a possible strike. In Gloucester, Dartmouth, Acushnet, Greenfield and elsewhere, members have launched vibrant contract campaigns to fight for the dignity they deserve and for the schools our communities deserve!
Boston Hotel Workers Still on Strike
Please consider making a donation to help out families affected by the ongoing strike at the Battery Wharf Hotel in Boston. A recent email from Yu-Zhen Yu, a room attendant at the hotel, reminds us that the strike is now in its third month. “Westmont's Battery Wharf Hotel is the ONLY union hotel that has not agreed to a fair contract that ensures sexual harassment protections, job security and affordable health care,” she writes. “Without these things, we cannot take care of our families.” The Local 26 Strike Assistance Fund is raising money to give gift cards to the strikers so they can buy food for their families this Thanksgiving. Donate now to support the strikers.
Ed Funding Bill Near Its Final Phase
Because of the powerful Fund Our Future campaign, the Student Opportunity Act (previously called the Promise Act) passed unanimously in both the Senate and House and is now in conference committee to reconcile differences between both versions. We are optimistic that it will be done in time for the fiscal 2021 budget to include the first installment of a seven-year phase-in of $1.5 billion in new state education aid. Formal sessions end for the year on Nov. 20, and the State House is feeling the heat to wrap it up. We expect that consensus bill to come out any day now. We will send an alert if any member actions are called for.