MTA Union News: Celebrating Victory and Looking Ahead

MTA Union News: Celebrating Victory and Looking Ahead

We hope you had a restful Thanksgiving and are ready for the final push before the holiday break.

We have been trying to celebrate Question 1 a little bit every day – and we all should because the victory was historic and profound!

But we also have to turn toward making sure the $2 billion in yearly funds we won for public schools and colleges and transportation goes where we need the money to go. Max will be sharing our legislative priorities as a member of the Healey-Driscoll administration transition team, which was announced yesterday – and we will be rolling out these priorities to the Legislature and the public in the coming weeks.

At the same time, we have to strengthen the momentum that our locals have been building – from Brockton to Haverhill to Medford to Malden – to gain better contracts. And we have to prioritize informing our members so they can ensure their activism will have a major impact.

That’s an introduction to a long list of MTA events and solidarity actions coming up!

MTA Events and Solidarity Actions

  • An ongoing list of solidarity actions: A regular feature of our weekly email from now on will be this list, where you can view upcoming actions. And add your own with this form. We may highlight individual events, but MTA locals are so active that it is hard to keep up with all that’s going on. We want to urge you to show up whenever you can. The more we show up for one another, the greater the power we generate for local and statewide campaigns.
  • The Higher Ed For All campaign, led by the MTA, is dedicated to expanding access to Massachusetts public colleges and universities and to ensuring the equitable learning and working conditions needed to meet the needs of all students and workers.
    • Join us today at 5:30 p.m. for a virtual MTA statewide membership meeting so you can learn more about the campaign. Register here.
    • Join legislators, union members and community allies at the State House on Thursday, Dec. 1, for a Higher Ed For All press conference and legislative briefing. RSVP.
    • Please take this very short survey for preK-12 members to let us know a little bit about how you relate to Massachusetts public higher ed institutions.
  • Learning about strikes: Please join us for organizing and action dialogue sessions facilitated by Ellen David Friedman from Labor Notes and featuring educator activists from Brookline, Haverhill, Malden and other MTA locals. We'll be discussing escalating actions and approaches to building strong locals throughout the Commonwealth, as well as our legislative proposal to eliminate the prohibition against striking by public workers. All MTA members and organizers are welcome to join. Space is limited so please register ASAP. Joining both sessions is encouraged, though not required, since the second session builds on the first one. This is a great opportunity for contract action team chairs and members to share stories and discuss strategies!
    Organizing and Action Dialogues
    Session 1: Tuesday, Dec. 13, 4 to 5:30 p.m.
    Session 2: Tuesday, Dec. 20, 4 to 5:30 p.m.
    Register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
  • PDP winter workshops: The MTA’s Training and Professional Learning Division is requesting proposals to help plan its winter PDP workshop lineup. Any member who has, or has considered, facilitating a professional development workshop is encouraged to use this form to submit your proposal by Friday, Dec. 9. Although courses related to certain topics (e.g., special education, multilingual learners, social and racial justice, and trauma-informed education) are preferred, TPL is also open to new topics. All proposals will be reviewed. If selected, you will be notified as soon as possible. TPL is looking to have this program in place and registration completed before the holiday break.
  • Licensure workshops: The MTA will be offering another set of Licensure Workshops after the new year. The Basics for Provisional and Initial Licensure is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 12. It will cover the first steps toward licensure, making it appropriate for aspiring educators, Education Support Professionals, and early career educators. Acquiring and Renewing Your Professional License is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 26. It will focus on moving from an Initial to a Professional license and the Professional license renewal process. This workshop is meant for educators with three-plus years of employment. Please register here! Meanwhile, The Policy Minute, published by our Center for Education Policy and Practice, is an incredible resource that can help answer your licensure questions. All you need is an email address to subscribe and receive updates from the CEPP.

Mark Your Calendars

  • Feb. 3-4: MTA Bargaining Summit + Union Skills Conference, Boston Omni Parker House.
  • March 4: MTA Early Career Educators Conference, Worcester Technical High School.
  • March 31-April 1: MTA Education Support Professionals Conference, Hotel 1620, Plymouth.

Political Education

One of our favorite contemporary nonfiction authors is Rebecca Solnit (whom we quoted a couple of weeks ago). In a wonderful book, Orwell’s Roses, she takes a new look at the writer George Orwell and the roses he planted outside his home while writing about the twin oppressive movements of his time – industrial capitalism and totalitarianism. She suggests as we try to change our world, we have to always fight “for bread, and for roses,” as the famous song goes.

Orwell himself wrote in 1946: “Is it wicked to take a pleasure in Spring and other seasonal changes? To put it more precisely, is it politically reprehensible, while we are all groaning, or at any rate ought to be groaning, under the shackles of the capitalist system, to point out that life is frequently more worth living because of a blackbird’s song, a yellow elm tree in October, or some other natural phenomenon which does not cost money and does not have what the editors of left-wing newspapers call a class angle.” (p. 93)

And Solnit expands the thought: “Politics is the pragmatic expression of beliefs and commitments shaped by culture. Works of art can and do help construct the self that engages in politics, and the mere exhortation to engage or tirades about what’s wrong do not necessarily produce the empathic imagination, the insights, principles, orientations, collective memories that engagement requires.” … The essay suggests that “political art may give us something that lets us plunge into politics, that human beings need reinforcement and refuge, that pleasure does not necessarily seduce us from the tasks at hand but can fortify us.” (p. 95)

In solidarity,

Max and Deb