From MTA President Max Page
and Vice President Deb McCarthy
Last night, Malden educators settled their contract — and secured outstanding benefits for members: paid family leave, close to a 30 percent increase for Education Support Professionals, large increases for teachers and administrators, a commitment to help stop evictions of families in that gentrifying city, and on and on.
And this past weekend featured some amazing solidarity from our national union, the NEA.
NEA President Becky Pringle flew to Boston to speak at a Fair Share rally with U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley on Sunday. But before the event, she spent two hours as a silent representative in bargaining — supporting the Malden Education Association in members’ fight for a fair contract. Her presence was most definitely noticed by the School Committee.
Her activism — and the support at a big rally yesterday from AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman, AFT Massachusetts, the Boston Teachers Union, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin and U.S. Senator Ed Markey — buoyed the spirits of the members.
But mainly it was the MEA educators themselves who said “enough is enough” — and stood strong for an excellent contract. And a great contract for members is a great contract for students and families in Malden. And this should raise expectations for future contracts across the state.
We must continue to be in solidarity with our union siblings in Haverhill, who remain without a contract, as they fight for fair pay, a diverse education workforce and safe schools for educators and students. Bargaining updates are available on the Haverhill Education Association’s Facebook page.
At the Malden rally, Senator Markey ended by saying, “There is one more thing we should all do to help our educators: Pass the Fair Share Amendment.” At a rally today in Haverhill, both Senator Elizabeth Warren and Attorney General Maura Healey, the MTA-recommended candidate for governor, sent messages of support to the members emphasizing the need to pass Question 1.
Solidarity Actions and Victories
Member wins keep rolling in. Here are two more: Brockton Education Support Professionals won a settlement this week that will bring a 40 percent increase over three years to members. Medford settled this week — and ESPs will see an increase of more than 30 percent over three years.
Understanding Student Debt Cancellation
Join U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Representative Pressley on Oct. 25 as they tour the state to help our members and the wider community understand and access the incredible new student debt cancellation victories we won together. Use this link to register.
Join us for a Higher Education Forum on Oct. 20 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. With a new governor being elected in November and the Fair Share Amendment on the ballot — Question 1 — we have a unique opportunity to address systemic inequities in our public higher education system. Hear from the campus community and share your vision for the future of our public colleges and universities.
At the first such forum, held in September, we discussed making sure that all students receive the support they deserve and that educators have fair wages and working conditions allowing them to help all of their students thrive. Building on those topics, this forum will focus on increasing state support so that our colleges and universities can:
- Invest in healthy, sustainable campuses.
- Provide enough financial support to students so that they can graduate debt free.
- MTA Benefits has been leading the way with weekly workshops on student debt, including how to access the new benefits. Learn more details. And register here for workshops tomorrow and October 26. Please also visit studentaid.gov/pslf for more information. The deadline for accessing these benefits is Oct. 31.
- The MTA Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee is excited to host the annual Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee Conference — in person — on Dec. 2 and 3 at The Verve Hotel in Natick. The committee is requesting proposals from members that amplify EMAC’s mission and purpose and incorporate this year’s theme: “From the roots up, shifting our culture with your union power, it starts with you.” To submit proposals and find event information, please visit the EMAC Conference webpage.
- Día de los Muertos: The MTA Latinx Affinity group will meet over Zoom to celebrate Día de los Muertos and to share the latest news from the MTA on Wednesday, Nov. 2, from 6 to 7 p.m. Please register to attend.
Fair Share Question
How would smaller class sizes affect your ability to meet the needs of all of your students?
This week’s question in our series asking how Fair Share revenue could improve your ability to help your students to thrive is: How would smaller class sizes affect your ability to meet the needs of all of your students? You can see more information and share your insights here.
As we head into the final weeks of the Yes on 1 campaign, the misinformation from the “no” side is coming fast and furious. But the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center has a series of reports that help explain how valuable it will be to have a constitutionally protected source of funds for education and transportation and how only the richest will pay — those who make over $1 million a year in income. Check out MBPC reports here.
Max and Deb