Teachers on Strike: Not an Easy Experience!

Hello!  Happy Friday!  I'm happy to link up with Andrea from Momfessionals  and Erika from A Little Bit of Everything to tell you about what it's like to be on strike as a teacher in the winter in Massachusetts.

Please note:  All information in italics is from a Boston Globe article from January 30, 2023.


During the pandemic, the mayor offered the teachers a 1 percent raise on the condition that he would make it up to us at our next contract.  I bet you can guess what happened!  The Mayor, School Committee and Union sat down to negotiate for over a year:   Contract talks in Woburn have been ongoing for more than a year between the School Committee and the union, which represents about 500 teachers, nurses, teacher aides, and others.  The Union had us vote on the new contract, and the teachers rejected it.  

The biggest sticking point was the pay for paraprofessionals.  Their base pay was $22,000 per year.  Consequently, we have several opening with people choosing other districts with a base pay of $30,000 or more.

Now the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) gets involved to help resolve the contract issue.  Eventually, we started doing "rolling" work to rule:  each school has a different day to follow the contract to the letter after holding signs outside for 20 minutes. 

Several months pass quickly by with no agreement.  The Union holds a vote on whether or not to strike.  The strike began on Friday, January 27, 2023.

The Strike Begins

On Saturday we all went to the center and picketed.  Here are some students from my school and one of the moms:

Monday through Thursday, the strike continues with no resolution.  However, support from the community continues:  
Educators in Woburn were not alone in their demands during Monday’s strike as students, parents, and other community members joined them in support.

Friday arrives.  There is no resolution.  The temperatures are dangerously cold.  There is a schedule wherein each school has a 30 minute picketing session.  There was also a live press conference in front of the Boston State House.  I volunteered to go because I needed an adventure!  Here the group of teachers from my school (I'm wearing the purple hat!):

Click here to watch a news clip.

Today, Sunday, February 5, 2023, and the contracts are complete, but the Mayor wants us to reimburse the City for the expenses incurred during the strike:  $250,000.  Right now, a return to work agreement is being written and agreed upon by all.  The amount owed was "reduced" to $225,000, and the return to work and the new contract were approved.

Closing thoughts:  Striking is hard work both mentally and physically.  I really missed teaching my students.  The good news is that the paraprofessionals' new salary will be close to $28,000.  Going back to work last week was exhausting for teachers, but our students were definitely happy and full of energy! 

Make sure to check out more great blog posts here!

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