Union News: School is out and the legislature is just getting started

Union News: School is out and the legislature is just getting started

Greetings, MTA members,

School is out … and the Legislature is just getting going. Yesterday, several members testified before the Education Committee in favor of bills which would provide alternative pathways for licensure, providing an escape route from the tyranny of the MTELs, which have stood in the way of diversifying our education workforce.

On Thursday, the Legislature will hear testimony on our retiree Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) bill, as well as legislation giving another chance to those members who were not able to sign up for Retirement Plus. Please sign the Action Alert. Read our fact sheet on the bill and a report written by one of our MTA members on how inflation erodes the value of public employee pensions. The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday.

Sign up to testify or read the instructions for leaving a written comment. And everyone should sign the Action Alert above letting the Legislature know how important a dignified retirement is to our members, and to making a career in public education attractive to the next generation.

MTA Events and Solidarity Actions

Registration is open for the MTA Summer Conference at UMass Amherst, August 6 - 9. The conference will feature more than 100 workshops and events, not to mention good food (the best campus food in the country, six years running), special guest speakers, dancing and relaxing at our “union educator camp.” And if you are open to a tour, Max may convince you to love the concrete behemoths on the UMass campus!

July 4 = Freedom to Read and the Freedom to Learn
MTA members will head to the NEA Representative Assembly in Orlando, Florida later this week. We go in large measure to stand with our union siblings in the Florida Education Association who are under attack by Governor Ron DeSantis and the Republican-dominated legislature, as well as friends in the LGBTQ+ community who have been targeted by law and violence, women who deign to control their own bodies, and young people who simply want to read and learn without the chilling censorship of right-wing ideologues.

On July 4, your MTA delegates will record excerpts from books that have been banned in Florida, Texas, and elsewhere. Will you join us by recording your own message over the Fourth of July holiday? Here’s information and a list of banned books. And here’s a link to record your reading. We’ll share those widely, including in Florida and Texas, and wherever young people and educators want to read and learn, free from fear.

Community college members deserve a raise – three years ago!
Our community college faculty and staff have been without a raise for 1,092 days! The contracts are signed, sealed and delivered to the Legislature – they only await the Legislature’s vote and the governor’s signature. Please take just a minute to help our Massachusetts Community College Council members get a long-delayed raise by writing to House leaders.

Political Education

From the Facts Are Stubborn Things Department:
For years, Stanford economist Eric Hanushek has been raking in right-wing accolades for arguing, against what has become one of the sturdiest facts in education, that money doesn’t help schools get better. His version of ed reform was to fire more teachers he deemed “low performing.” Well, even he had to finally admit that maybe indeed money is a crucial component – some would argue the crucial component – in building the schools our students deserve. Check out this piece in Chalkbeat.

The latest chapter in the Supreme Court’s anti-labor agenda
General Counsel Rebecca Yee has written an excellent summary of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Glacier Northwest v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local Union 174, which represents one more step in the court’s efforts to undermine unions and worker collective action. We say “efforts” because the court will not be able to stop the wave of worker organizing that is taking place throughout the nation. As Rebecca writes: “Although this trend by the highest court is disconcerting, workers understand that the power and solidarity of the collective, and the willingness to strike even when illegal or with restrictions, have generated stronger contracts and enhanced wages and working conditions by leveling the playing field with employers. Withholding labor is simply the most potent and formidable economic tool for workers.”

In solidarity,

Max and Deb