MTA Union News: A new governor, a new legislature and new opportunities for our union

MTA Union News: A new governor, a new legislature and new opportunities for our union

Greetings, MTA members,

Last week brought us the inauguration of a new Legislature, a new governor, Maura Healey, and a lieutenant governor, Kim Driscoll. It was an important milestone – the first woman governor, the first LGBTQ+ governor, and one of only two all-female leadership teams in the nation. We should be proud that our state broke those barriers.

But more importantly will be the policies for educational, racial, economic, gender and climate justice that the new leaders promote. There were some good signs on public higher education, with both Governor Healey and state Senate President Karen Spilka speaking about the need to invest in high-quality, debt-free public higher education. Both also spoke about the need to fully fund the Student Opportunity Act, and Spilka was especially clear about her ironclad commitment to spending all the Fair Share monies as intended: only on public schools and colleges and transportation.

But absent were some of the MTA’s other priorities, such as ending the tyranny of high-stakes testing, and further investments in our public schools to support the needs of students and our members in the wake of the pandemic, including living wages for Education Support Professionals, and more counselors, nurses and librarians.

We – MTA members – won the Fair Share Amendment. Now we will win a “Fair Share of the Fair Share” for public education.

MTA Events and Actions

A regular feature of our weekly email is this list, where you can view upcoming actions. Please add your own with this form. The more we show up for one another, the greater the power we generate for local and statewide campaigns.

To that point – please join Melrose Education Association members and allies at 6:30 TONIGHT at Melrose City Hall to help them get the contract they deserve.

Winning Our Statewide Campaigns: Join us as we introduce our statewide campaigns to our membership at regional Constituent Power Building Workshops, which will train members on our initiatives as well as how to be effective advocates.

Student Loan Forgiveness Updates

You might have heard that the pause on federal student loan payments has once again been extended, but the date on which they will resume has not yet been determined. There has also been a new payment adjustment opportunity added to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that provides a one-time opportunity to have payment counts increased. Learn more about these updates and sign up for a webinar.

Climate action

MTA's Climate Action Network is having its second regional conference on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at UMass Lowell. This half-day of professional development will show participants how they can fight climate change by exploring K-12 climate curricula, supporting youth climate activism, and developing climate action plans for your school or local. The first 25 MTA members who register will receive a $100 stipend for attending.

NEA Conference Opportunities

Each year, the MTA receives an allocation from the NEA to send members to NEA national conferences. As president, I’d like to put together MTA teams for each of these conferences. Learn more about each conference opportunity and complete the form indicating one or more choices among conferences you are interested in attending.

Political Education

We’ve shared this before, but it is worth looking at again: According to these statistics from the Economic Policy Institute, our classroom teachers could make an average of 20 percent more in other careers requiring a similar level of education. The gap between teachers and other college graduates has been growing. Keep this in mind when your school committee throws roadblocks in the way of a fair contract.

On a lighter note, 2023 brings us to the 100th anniversary of the publication of one of the most famous American poems, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” by Robert Frost.

In solidarity,

Max and Deb