Union News: Keeping the momentum up on MCAS ballot signatures

Union News: Keeping the momentum up on MCAS ballot signatures

Keeping the momentum up on MCAS ballot signatures!


The campaign to upend high-stakes testing is in full gear. Thousands of MCAS ballot initiative petition sheets have been signed. But we need many thousands more!

Every local has signature sheets and we need each of you to ask your colleagues, friends and family members to sign – it will be one of the easier asks you make. The public is literally lining up at grocery stores and town fairs and farmer’s markets to sign these petitions!

If you can, please join us at the State House on Wednesday, Oct. 4, to advocate for the passage of the Thrive Act, which would eliminate the graduation requirement tied to the MCAS, as well as the receivership system, which has meant the takeover of the Holyoke and Southbridge public school systems, and threatened many others. Sign up for the hearing and learn other ways you can take action in support of the Thrive Act. Please note that we pushed for and won a 2-8 p.m. window for the hearing, so that you can join us after school hours.

MTA Events and Solidarity Actions

Support UAW Workers on Strike

The United Auto Workers is leading a generational strike, not only on behalf of its own members, but for the entire working class. The UAW is demanding its share of the enormous wealth that members have produced, and which the Big Three auto manufacturers are either hoarding or giving out in multimillion-dollar salaries to executives.

Join some of the local workers, even for 15 minutes, at their picket line in Mansfield.They are there 24/7, and they told us yesterday when we stopped by that the support from other unions has meant so much to their moraleHere’s a good piece in Labor Notes about how you can support the UAW.

MTA Fall Regional Presidents’ Meetings
Please join us for a regional membership and presidents’ meeting at a regional office most convenient for you. This is a chance to speak to us about the issues affecting you in your workplaces. This will also be an opportunity to hear about the statewide campaigns now underway, including theCherish Act andThrive Act campaigns.

We invite members to join us for dinner and discussion from 4:30-6 p.m., and then we’ll have a Presidents’ Hour from 6-7 p.m. Please register for one or more of the meetings.

Disability Insurance
Important deadline! This year, all new members are eligible to enroll in disability insurance for up to 60 days after their hire date. Disability insurance insures your paycheck by replacing a portion of your salary when you’re out of work due to an illness or injury. Short-term disability can fill the income gap when you can’t work, which is particularly valuable to new members who have few sick days. Short-term disability will also provide maternity benefits, but if you think you’ll need maternity coverage, don’t wait until you know you need it. By then, it’s too late. New members can get coverage now or wait until April 2024 for a last opportunity to enroll. Learn more here.

MTA Committees and Task Forces
We have several opportunities for members to be appointed to committees and task forces, groups that are vital to our work and our mission. Here are a few:

The MTA Professional Standards and Ethics Committee is charged with resolving disputes between members over ethical matters within the scope of the Code of Ethics and familiarizing members with the provisions of the Code of Ethics.

The Human Relations Committee solicits, reviews and selects recipients of the MTA Human and Civil Rights Awards and plans the annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Banquet.

Get involved today, we need you! To volunteer for a possible appointment, view the list of committees and task forceshere and apply to be consideredhere.

North Andover Rally – Thursday, 4 p.m., North Andover High School
Our members in North Andover are voting on Thursday to begin work to rule to get their employer to get serious about bargaining. Please show up to support this local as it takes a courageous step to win a fair contract.

Student Loan Debt Forgiveness and Repayment Webinars
Student loan payments are set to resume in October and the deadline to receive retroactive credit for payments you’ve made toward loan forgiveness is quickly approaching.

If either of these topics affects you, or you’re looking for general information regarding a student or Parent PLUS loan, join an informational webinar presented by MTA Benefits and Cambridge Credit Counseling. Learn more.

Fall/Winter Bargaining Workshops
Registration is now open for MTA’s fall and winter bargaining workshops! All MTA members are welcome to attend these workshops, which include online and in-person offerings. Specific sessions being taught this fall and winter include: Bargaining Foundations, Democratized Bargaining, Public Sector Bargaining Law, Contract Language Lab, Power Mapping, Health Insurance, Economics of Bargaining, and more! Learn more or register for workshops. These classes count toward credit in MTA’s Bargaining Certificate Program. 

MTA PreK-12 Bargaining Summit, Registration Open
Registration is now open for the 2023 MTA PreK-12 Bargaining Summit, which will be Oct. 21 at the Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center. We have a lot of successes to look back on and consider where to go next at the bargaining table. All members are welcome, but the event is specifically designed for bargaining team members, no matter where they are in a contract cycle. Register today.

MTA Higher Education Conference, Registration Open
Higher education members, please register for the 2023 Higher Education Conference, which will be held on Oct. 21 at the Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center. This conference will cover various topics to help prepare activists and leaders for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead, plus space for participant-led collaboration and problem-solving.

Political Education

As you gather signatures for the MCAS ballot initiative, and get ready for the Thrive Act hearing on Oct. 4, please read this powerful report we helped craft with FairTest and Citizens for Public Schools. The report lays out a powerful case for ending our destructive, high-stakes testing regime.

And hot off the press: Check out this Washington Post article about the problems inherent in those annual rankings of colleges and high schools, written by Harry Feder, the head of FairTest. He states, in part: “Standardized test scores, and the rankings that use them, strongly correlate to parental wealth and education and thus measure socio-economic status more than anything else.”

Yesterday, with an invitation from (read: pressure from) the UAW, President Biden showed up on the picket line, a first for a sitting president. Many of you may have read about his comments in the press. But we would urge you to watch what UAW President Shawn Fain has to say about the importance of the strike.

In solidarity,

Max and Deb