We hope your school year is off to a great start.
We look forward to supporting you in your efforts to win powerful local contracts. On the statewide level, we're excited to come together as a union to gather the signatures necessary to put an end to the high-stakes MCAS graduation requirement on the 2024 ballot, and to demand high-quality, debt-free public higher education for ALL residents of the Commonwealth.
Solidarity Actions & More
Congratulations to the Haverhill Education Association, which announced that the School Committee voted last Thursday to end its lawsuit against the educators, a repudiation of the district’s anti-union lawyer who concocted this attack on the union.
As HEA President Barry Davis said: "Now is the time for the union and School Committee to move forward and address the urgent need to pay our Education Support Professionals a living wage.”
Start the new year with a great book!
MTA members can download digital and audio books from the MTA, for free, on the Libby app. Join MTA's digital library for free access to over 75 e-books and audiobooks available on the Libby app anywhere, anytime.
New health insurance opportunities for ESPs and Adjunct Faculty
The MTA was part of a coalition that worked to expand access to health insurance in a way that can help MTA members, particularly adjunct faculty who don’t have access to employer provided health insurance and other educators, including ESPs, for whom health care premiums exceed 9.12% of their household income.
The Health Connector currently provides subsidized health and dental coverage for Massachusetts residents who make less than 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Because of the coalition’s effective advocacy efforts, the state has initiated a two-year pilot program to raise the maximum income level to 500% of the FPL.
That’s $72,900 for an individual and $150,000 for a four-person household. Open enrollment for this program will start in November and you will hear more from MTA as we get closer. Learn more about the Health Connector.
Speak out for Higher Ed
If you believe that debt-free public higher education, more funding for student support and fair wages to recruit and retain faculty and staff are priorities, please share your written support for the Cherish Act! And please show up for a State House hearing on the bill on Monday, Sept. 18.
Save the date: October 4 Thrive hearing!
Join us at the State House to advocate for passage of the Thrive Act, which would eliminate the graduation requirement tied to the MCAS as well as the receivership system.
Next Monday is Labor Day, when we honor working people and unions who have fought for the dignity of that labor. That also means you will have a “long weekend.” Don’t take Saturday and Sunday for granted, nor take it for the final say on how much we should work in a week.
It was our predecessors in the union movement who reclaimed the weekend from bosses who sought to exploit workers six and even seven days a week. But is the five-day work week the end of the discussion?
Other countries have tried pilot projects of 32-hour work weeks.
Maybe it is time for us to consider shortening the number of hours, so all workers have more time for their families, for their hobbies, and, as 19th century labor activists said, “for what they will.”
The new United Auto Workers President, Shawn Fain, thinks we should restart a conversation that goes back a century in the labor movement.
Max and Deb
All Presidents' Meeting
When: Saturday, Sept. 9
Where: Framingham Sheraton
If you are a leader in your local and you're ready to get involved in ending the high-stakes MCAS graduation requirement or winning debt-free, high-quality public education, please come to our upcoming All Presidents' Meeting.
Retired Members Gathering
When: Wednesday, Sept. 27
Please join us for MTA’s 2023 Retired Members Gathering, with many exciting workshops including topics such as sexuality and aging, climate change, and the history of the Reverse Freedom Rides.
Additionally, an engaging lunch program will feature a keynote presentation entitled “Libraries and Liberty” by attorney Bill Newman from the ACLU of Massachusetts.
The Retired Members Gathering is a great way to reconnect, make new friends, learn, and have fun!
EMAC Conference Workshop Proposals
When: Dec 1-2
The Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee is now accepting workshop proposals for their 44th Annual Conference, themed “Cultivating Cultural Pride, Nurturing Identity and Heritage.” This year's keynote speaker is award-winning author and professor, Dr. Bettina L. Love.
The conference will take place on Dec. 1-2 at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Convention Center.
The deadline for proposals is October 7, 2023.
Student Loan Debt Forgiveness & Repayment Webinars
Student loan payments are set to resume, and the deadline to receive retroactive credit for payments you made towards loan forgiveness is quickly approaching. If either of these topics affect you, or you’re looking for general information regarding your student or Parent PLUS loan, join MTA Benefits & Cambridge Credit Counseling for an upcoming webinar!