Full steam ahead for Higher Ed for All

Full steam ahead for Higher Ed for All

One of the best days of the year is when we show up to surprise the MTA ESP of the Year. This year, at the Malden Education Association’s membership gathering, no one was more surprised about the announcement than the recipient, Paula Higgins.

Congratulations to Paula for her decades of service to the students of Malden, and for her years of service to the MEA, including recruiting and mentoring future leaders of the local.

It shouldn’t surprise you, but a recent poll we conducted with the general public showed that by an overwhelming degree, the public stands with the MTA and its members. By a two-to-one margin, poll participants supported our members’ right to strike after six months of good faith bargaining. By three-to-one, they endorsed the key elements of the MTA’s Thrive Act to end the harm of the high-stakes testing regime, including getting rid of the MCAS graduation requirement, ending receivership, and creating a new, whole-child assessment system. And on higher education, more than 80 percent supported debt-free public higher education, justice for adjunct faculty, and fair wages for all staff and faculty.

Oh, and when asked who they had the most favorable view of, poll participants put educators and the MTA at the top of the list, well above Beacon Hill, school committees and DESE.

MTA Victories and Solidarity Actions

Support Your Union Siblings
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.

Bargaining Councils
At the recent MTA Bargaining Summit, held in Boston, members expressed interest in developing regional bargaining councils in the southeast region. The conversation featured educators from locals including Bristol-Plymouth Vocational, Dartmouth, Fall River, Greater New Bedford Vocational, New Bedford Educators Association and the New Bedford Support Specialists Union.

Bargaining councils are a great way to support one another in collective bargaining and help each other strategize to win strong demands at the negotiations table. Please join us for a follow-up meeting via Zoom on Thursday, March 30, at 6:30 p.m. Let’s keep the conversation going!

Victory for MTA Locals
Congratulations to our MCCC members for ratifying their day unit contract earlier this month after being without an agreement since June 2021. Their bargaining team and contract action team worked hard to win significant improvements to their salary schedule.

We still have work to do to get the state to further invest in higher education. All higher ed locals are returning to the bargaining table this spring and we are urging Governor Maura Healey to provide a fair economic proposal for state workers.

Other locals have won strong tentative agreements in recent weeks – in Stoneham, Westwood, and, just last night, Weymouth. Congratulations to all for advancing the working and learning conditions in our public schools.

Upcoming Events

All-Member Meeting
When: 7 – 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 21
Where: Virtual

Join us for an update on key victories and ongoing campaigns at the state and local level, including bargaining efforts from around the state and the campaigns to end high-stakes testing, win high-quality, debt-free public higher education, the right to strike for educators and a dignified retirement for Retired members. Please send questions or issues that you’d like us to address to MTAGovernance@massteacher.org. Please register today.

“Building Worker Power: Solidarity, Cooperation and Care” Weekend Conference
When: Friday, March 24 – Sunday, March 26
Where: UMass Amherst Labor Center

Join union leaders and activists from across the country for a weekend conference featuring Chris Smalls, of Amazon Labor Union, Kali Akuno, of Cooperation Jackson, and many others in the labor movement. Sign up today

MTA Climate Action Network Spring Conference
When: 9 a.m., Saturday, April 1
Where: MIT

This conference will be held jointly with MIT’s Climate Action through Education (CATE) and Earth Day Boston. High school students and preK-12 educators are invited to attend for an opportunity to engage with local climate and energy organizations, to learn about innovative green curriculums and to go home with educational resources. Register today

MTA Spring Brunch for Retirees
When: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Wednesday, March 22
Where: Virtual

The annual event for Retired members will include representatives with MTA Benefits for a presentation on health and wellness and programming on critical issues facing educators. The MTA Grassroots Division will also present the MTA’s legislative priorities and discuss how Retired members can get involved. Register today.

Virtual Licensure Workshops
“The Basics for Provisional and Initial Licensure”
When: 4 – 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 15
Where: Virtual

Aspiring educators, early career educators and Education Support Professionals are invited to learn about the first steps toward licensure.

“Acquiring and Renewing Your Professional License”
When: 4 – 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 29
Where: Virtual

This workshop is open to educators with three-plus years of employment. It will focus on moving from an Initial to a Professional license and the Professional License renewal process. Please register for these workshops today.

2023 MTA ESP Conference
When: Friday, March 31 – Saturday, April 1
Where: Hotel 1620, Plymouth
Registration is open.

The registration conference fee is $45. Please register now for this fun and educational gathering. Space is limited. Book soon because rooms may sell out.

Political Education

We spend every waking hour living in an economy, and ours is called capitalism. But bizarrely, we don’t spend much time really trying to understand that system and how it shapes our lives, including our public schools and colleges. But if the Harvard Business School is willing to talk openly about the deep problems of our capitalist economic system, then surely we in the largest labor union in New England should as well, right? Here is a long but fairly accessible interview with Deepankar Basu, an MTA member and UMass Amherst professor, concerning capitalism and Marxism.


In Solidarity,

Max and Deb