Union News: Woburn educators fight for a fair contract

Union News: Woburn educators fight for a fair contract

woburn on strike
Barbara Locke, president of the Woburn Teachers Association. Photo courtesy of the Woburn Teachers Association.

Greetings, MTA members,

We are writing this Monday night from a crowded school committee room at Joyce Middle School in Woburn, where 50 righteous Woburn Teachers Association educators are writing a counterproposal for the mayor and the school committee over pizza and Girl Scout cookies. They are doing so even though the mayor cancelled school at 8 p.m. and left the building a half hour later, refusing to continue bargaining.

The members were ready to stay all night, reach an agreement and open schools in Woburn on Tuesday.

The other side quit.

Is it any wonder that the students and parents have showed up in force on the Woburn Common and at every school’s picket line to support their beloved educators – the people they trust most with their public schools?

The group of silent representatives here now, joining the core bargaining team, is the third team of the day. The local has organized shifts every few hours, so a new group of members can learn about the contract, offer comments, and witness the stalling tactics of the other side.

Building on the work of Melrose, Haverhill and Malden – as well as Weymouth, Newton, Wayland, Wellesley and Quincy, and a dozen more – we are seeing the full flowering of a new way of bargaining. It’s built around rank-and-file involvement, powered by a growing sense of self-respect, defiant in the face of mayors and school committees unwilling to negotiate seriously for months and months. It’s willing to stand firm for living wages for Education Support Professionals, smaller class sizes for the Woburn community, control over preparation and collaboration time, and fair wages for all.

Please take a moment to call on the Woburn School Committee and Woburn Mayor Scott Galvin to get back to the table and show some respect for the invaluable and irreplaceable educators of Woburn.

Yet Again

boston mayor
Photo of Mayor Michele Wu and other attendees at vigil for Tyre Nichols. Photo courtesy of the city of Boston, taken by Isabel Leon.

We are outraged by the brutal and tragic killing of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police last week. Once again, we are confronted by the realities of systemic racism and the devaluing of Black lives that make daily life less safe for our Black community members.

We know that, as educators, your students may come to you with some difficult questions this week, and we admire your strength and courage in guiding young people through the harsh realities of our country. You are doing your part to transform public education, one student rel="noopener noreferrer" at a time. Share these are resources on educating through a racial justice framework.

As always, the MTA stands with Black educators, students, families and communities, and will continue to fight alongside you for justice.

MTA Solidarity

Support your fellow educators! Check out this list of upcoming actions. Please add your own to this form. The more we show up for one another, the greater the power we generate for local and statewide campaigns.

MTA Events

Professional Development
The 2023 MTA Early Career Educators Conference will be held on Saturday, March 4, at Worcester Technical High School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit massteacher.org/ececonference for more information. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for registration!

A national conversation on MCAS Next Wednesday, Feb. 8, join us for a national conversation around the use of high-stakes testing and it’s detrimental impact on our students and families. Register using this link. Speakers include MTA Vice President Deb McCarthy, University of Texas Professor Angela Valenzuela, University of Washington-Bothell Professor Wayne Au and U.S. Representative Jamaal Bowman.

Elections for MTA Board and Executive Committee

This year, elections will be held for seats on the MTA Board of Directors and Executive Committee. These elections will take place at the 2023 Annual Meeting of Delegates. View the full list of openings and find out more about becoming a candidate. Contact MTAGovernance@massteacher.org with any questions or to request nomination papers.

Local Delegate Elections
It is time to start thinking about serving as a delegate to MTA’s Annual Meeting, which will be held April 28-29 in Springfield, and the NEA-RA, scheduled for July 2-6 in Orlando, Florida. The nomination process and election for these delegate seats are handled by each local association. Contact your local president or election officer to find out the details and timing of your local processes.

MTA Committees and Task Forces
Get involved today! We have several opportunities for members to be appointed to MTA committees and task forces. These groups are vital to our work and our mission. To volunteer for a possible appointment, view the list of committees and task forces and apply to be considered.

Political Education

Maurice Cunningham, a former professor at UMass Boston, has released a new report, “Merchants of Deception: Parent Props and Their Funders.” As phony “parent” and “mom” groups like Parents Defending Education, Moms for Liberty, and National Parents Union grow in strength, it is imperative that we fight back and expose them for what they are: the obedient franchises of right-wing billionaires like the DeVos, Koch and Walton families. Read the report.


Max and Deb