Union News: An Unexpected Tribute Lessons from a Cab Ride

Union News: An Unexpected Tribute Lessons from a Cab Ride

mta members and staff


A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of attending the NEA Foundation Dinner, where the Teacher of the Year for 2024 was announced. Heading home late that evening, I (Max) got in a cab, and soon found myself in conversation with the driver who, on hearing where I had just been, went on for the entire ride home speaking in detail about the three educators who changed his life: “They made me the man I am today.”

It was a beautiful, 20-minute series of recollections by Mr. Hayes of growing up in Alexandria, Virginia, just across from where the NEA event was taking place, and being educated, cared for and inspired by his public school educators. For me it was a gift; and I think he found himself transported back 50 years or so, and gave voice to his gratitude. I only wish the airport hadn’t been so close by! I was moved by his words.

If you want another story to make you feel inspired, check out this video from the UAW about the historic victory by the union at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant a few weeks ago. And then send good labor thoughts to our UAW union siblings in Mississippi, who this week are voting on joining the UAW. As the video says at the end, the dominos are falling in the South.

MTA Events, Solidarity Actions and Other Opportunities

2024 MTA Summer Conference

When: Sunday, July 28 - Wednesday, July 31

Where: UMass Amherst Registration is now open for the 2024 MTA Summer Conference! Rethinking Education for a Transformative Future is the theme for this year’s annual event at UMass Amherst. This conference will include more than 60 workshops and special programs on union skills, professional development and anti-oppression topics, including opportunities to earn PDPs, graduate credit and the MTA Bargaining Certificate.

The conference is free for all members who register by July 11. Housing in either the dorms or at Hotel UMass, as well as meals from the award-winning UMass Dining, are available at discounted rates. Education Support Professionals, adjunct faculty and participants in the New Presidents Academy, New Members Program and Next Generation Leadership Program will receive free dorm housing and meals.

Raise My Wage! Cap My Rent!

When: Wednesday, May 15 Where: 12:30 p.m.

The "Raise My Wage! Cap My Rent!" rally kicks off tomorrow. All organizations and individuals who are a part of Raise Up are welcome to attend. We will be rallying in support of raising the state minimum wage to $20 per hour.

The rally starts at 12:30 p.m. at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King sculpture called "The Embrace," located in the Boston Common almost across from/near the State House. A nearby address would be 139 Tremont St.,Boston, for those who might need a more exact GPS location.

New Business Items – Learn More

2024 MTA Annual Meeting delegates created and submitted numerous motions for consideration by the entire delegation. Forty-one NBIs were submitted. One NBI was ruled out of order since it would require a Bylaws change, but had not gone through the process for amending the MTA Bylaws. Seven NBIs passed, either in their original form or as amended from the floor. Two NBIs were voted down and failed. One was withdrawn. The remaining 30 were not heard since the formal business meeting ended by mid-afternoon on Saturday, April 27, because of a lack of a quorum. Overall, the delegates clearly endorsed the current direction of the MTA by passing the dues increase allocated for increased staff, to further amplify campaign capacity, and an overall budget supporting increased member organizing and activism. All demonstrated overwhelming support for building even more rank-and-file democracy and power. Please click here for status information about New Business Items.

Full-Service Community Schools Summit

When: Saturday, June 8, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Boston Teachers Union, 180 Mount Vernon St., Boston, MA 02125

At this summit, you will learn about the Full-Service Community Schools strategy, which is based on local knowledge, creativity and community resources, and which promotes equity, democracy and justice. The plenary panel will feature Jitu Brown, director of the Journey For Justice (J4J) Alliance, and Stacy Davis Gates, president of the Chicago Teachers Union. There will also be workshops with exciting presenters. Register here.

Take Action on the state Senate’s budget proposals

Next week, the Massachusetts Senate will debate a state budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2025. The initial Senate proposal includes several significant provisions that bring us closer to the MTA’s goal of achieving debt-free, high-quality public colleges and universities and to addressing the funding crisis facing public school districts across the Commonwealth. Many of the proposed initiatives were made possible by the unwavering advocacy of MTA members, including through the passage of the Fair Share Amendment. Yet, more must still be done to more effectively ensure that every public school district has the resources to adequately support the social, emotional and educational needs of our students and to advance our vision for public higher education.

Please take this action to email your state senator right away and urge them to support the MTA's priority amendments that would strengthen the Senate budget proposal. In addition, please tell your senator to oppose Amendment #787, which would create a significant state mandate on literacy instruction and curriculum in Massachusetts public schools, including by restricting the literacy curricula materials schools can use in their classrooms. Please also consider calling your senator to follow up on your email. You can find your senator’s phone number by clicking here.

May Is AANHPI Heritage Month We’ve compiled a list of resources for teaching about Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander history and culture. Check out this page for resources by grade level, recommended books and an article about the role AANHPI members have played in labor history.

Jewish American Heritage Month

NEA has published a new article exploring Jewish American history and how it intersects with American labor history. The article also includes a quote from NEA President Becky Pringle for Jewish American Heritage Month and has resources educators can use to talk about Jewish American heritage at school.

Brown v. Board of Education Anniversary - May 17

Seventy years ago, in its landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court changed the trajectory of public education. By proclaiming education as a “right that must be made available to all on equal terms,” Brown promised equal educational opportunities for all children — no matter their race or place. “Promised” and “achieved” are two different states of reality. History does not move in a straight line, and the distance between the promise and the reality remains criminally far.

NEA created these resources to mark the 70th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.

Political Education

Ever wished you had a better understanding how our economic system – capitalism – works and how it shapes your schools and colleges, your own life, and those of your students and their families? Vivek Chibber’s “Confronting Capitalism” is a short, clearly written introduction from the left about how capitalism works, and how essential an organized working class (and almost everyone is a worker, a person who sells their skills and time in order to earn money to live) is to securing a fairer share of the wealth in this society.

In solidarity,

Max and Deb