Union News: Remembering Labor Day's roots

Union News: Remembering Labor Day's roots

We hope you celebrated and enjoyed Labor Day, a day of rest, but took time to remember that this holiday, first observed in 1882 and made a national holiday in 1894, lifts up the 99% – all of us who work to live and share a common mission of strengthening the lives of working people.


We hope you celebrated and enjoyed Labor Day, a day of rest, but took time to remember that this holiday, first observed in 1882 and made a national holiday in 1894, lifts up the 99% – all of us who work to live and share a common mission of strengthening the lives of working people.

We got some excellent news from western Massachusetts last Wednesday. The Professional Staff Union’s residential life members won a terrific agreement that recognizes their many contributions to making dorm life safe and welcoming for UMass Amherst’s 30,000 students.  

Back east, in Newton, we watched the curious (read: ridiculous) claims of the Newton superintendent and school committee that members of the Newton Teachers Association had gone on strike. In fact, all members of the NTA spent the day in their classrooms preparing for the arrival of students this week. The district’s annual breakfast assembly, which has always been voluntary, was deemed mandatory at the last minute.

This is another example of an administration hoping to control educators’ every move. The NTA is having none of it.

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Solidarity Actions & More

2023-2024 NEA Conference Participants Request

The MTA and NEA are now accepting applications for members to participate in next year’s NEA Conferences, which are scheduled from January through July 2024. This is a great opportunity for members to immerse themselves in union and job-specific education and engage with members across the country.

You will have the opportunity to learn from renowned leaders, share stories with other members and learn from one another. Both MTA and NEA provide funding for these conferences. Space is very limited. If you are interested in applying to one or more educational conference opportunities, please fill out the survey form.

Show up for Cherish and Thrive

We have State House hearings coming up on our two major bills – the Cherish Act for high-quality, debt-free public higher education on September 18, and the Thrive Act, aimed at ending the high-stakes components of standardized testing, on October 4.  

Save the date: Sept. 18 Cherish hearing!

Please share your written support for the Cherish Act.

Save the date: October 4 Thrive hearing!

Join us at the State House 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.

Political Education

We spent Labor Day with our members and other unions across Greater Boston, first at the Boston Labor Day Breakfast, and then in a march and rally in support of our union siblings in SAG-AFTRA and WGA – the actors and writers who remain on strike against billionaire CEOs and highly profitable Hollywood production companies.

Franklin Ortiz, our own UMass Boston PSU member, spoke to the crowd and shared breakfast with U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley.

In the spirit of Labor Day, which is about workers banding together to secure fair wages, benefits and a voice at work and in our society – please consider these articles: This piece in Education Week on the ongoing sexism of underpaying women’s labor in public education, and thisBoston Globe piece on the need to build class solidarity among workers:

“If conservatives can continue to base their fundamental message on God, country, and traditional ways of life, even as their worship of Trump functions as a repudiation of such traditionalism, how can the left rally its many distinct parts together to win power and achieve social change? Through class politics, of course — through the universalizing power of class politics and the plain truth that the interests of the moneyed few are antagonistic toward those of the rest of us.”

Finally, in honor of Labor Day, here’s a one-question, low-stakes quiz. Who said the following?

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

Hint: It was in the 19th century, but it was NOT Karl Marx. The answer will be in next week’s email.

In solidarity,

Max and Deb 


EMAC Conference Workshop Proposals 

When: Dec. 1-2
Where: Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Convention Center

The Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee is now accepting workshop proposals for its 44th Annual Conference, with its theme of “Cultivating Cultural Pride, Nurturing Identity and Heritage.” The keynote speaker is Bettina L. Love, Ph.D., an award-winning author and professor.

The deadline for proposals is October 7.

Learn more

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 affects you, or you’re looking for general information regarding a student or Parent PLUS loan, join MTA Benefits & Cambridge Credit Counseling, starting Wednesday, Sept. 6, for an informational webinar

Learn more

MTA’s Professional Development Workshops

This fall, the MTA’s Training and Professional Learning Division will be offering professional development workshops focused on special education, multilingual learners, pedagogy and more. All courses are free for MTA members.

Registration is scheduled to launch on Thursday, September 14, at 4 p.m., so set a reminder to ensure your spot.

Learn more