Union News: The power of democratized, open bargaining

Union News: The power of democratized, open bargaining

Quincy Education Association victory rally
On Friday, members of the Quincy Education Association’s bargaining team announced a tentative agreement as more than 300 educators came to Quincy City Hall to celebrate the news. QEA educators were without a contract for over 200 days. Photo courtesy of the QEA.

Greetings, MTA members,

With apologies to William Shakespeare, we would like to declare: “Get thee to an open bargaining session!”

Last night, we did just that, showing up in solidarity with the Gloucester Association of Educational Paraprofessionals. We were joined by union leaders from Haverhill, Brookline and Malden. What we experienced was inspirational.

When people say “democracy” they often think “voting booth.” But, for us, “democracy” is paired with “open bargaining.” The bargaining team sat opposite the school committee team. But encircling all of them were most of the GAEP membership, supporting a demand for a $40,000 starting salary for Education Support Professionals.

That is right and just, and just a start for what ESP members deserve. The power of the demand was experienced tenfold because members and other MTA allies were there, silently backing the demand. The solidarity smiles of the members were nearly matched by the discomfort of the school committee team.

So, when you hear the call to show up as a silent representative (any MTA member can serve in this role when invited by the local), please answer it! It will change your view of being a union member, and of the meaning of democracy.

MTA Events 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.

Congratulations to the Quincy Education Association for winning an outstanding contract! Their persistence and powerful organizing in every building, along with the solidarity shown by other locals at rally after rally, along with the support of parents and the community, brought this victory against a mayor who hoped he could scare these educators. No way! Their contract includes gains in salary, a true parental leave benefit and significant movement on longevity pay.

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 curricula and to go home with educational resources. Register today.

Early Career Educators Conference
When: November 4, 2023
Where: Worcester Technical High School
Please save the date for the ECEC. Registration information will be coming soon.

Debt-free college for early career and future educators
An MTA proposal for $15 million to support preservice and early career educators was approved in the 2022 state budget. The Department of Higher Education is (finally) rolling out guidance and regulations for up to $25,000 per person in scholarships for candidates who commit to a licensure preparation program pathway and up to $7,500 in loan forgiveness for graduates of public institutions of higher education who commit to four years of employment in a public school district. The Policy Minute will be updating details as they are released.

Now is the time to Rise Up for LGBTQ+ youth
According to GLSEN's most recent National School Climate Survey, 82 percent of LGBTQ+ youth reported feeling unsafe in school. New anti-LGBTQ+ bills are introduced daily, and more students are being stripped of safe and affirming learning environments, books, and resources. Take the Rise Up pledge here to support our LBTQ+ youth.

Political education

We’ve been reading Domingo Morel’s excellent book: Takeover: Race, Education, and American Democracy. Morel discusses the hollowness of the claim that receivership offers a path forward absent the essential right of the citizenry of marginalized communities for local empowerment and control. According to Morel, school politics are community politics, and democracy is critical for schools to thrive at the local level.

In solidarity,
Max and Deb