Teachers in the wealthy Boston suburb of Newton have finally ended a strike that kept kids out of school for eleven days. You would think that as communities across the country are coming to grips with how damaging school closures were during the pandemic, that no one would dare shut down a school right now but here we are.
NBC News in Boston reports:
Newton teacher strike ends as union and mayor announce agreement on new contract
The teacher strike that has kept schools closed for 11 days in Newton, Massachusetts, has come to an end.
The Newton Teachers Association announced Friday night that it had agreed to a new contract with the school committee.
“It took 16 months and 15 days of a strike that 98% of our members reluctantly voted for to force Mayor [Ruthanne] Fuller, Chris Brezski and their school committee to understand that Newton educator will not back down from doing what is right for our students, for our schools and for public education,” Ryan Normandin of the union’s negotiation team said in a press conference. “This evening, the Newton Teachers Association and the Newton School Committee’s bargaining teams agreed to a contract.”
Normandin said the deal that was reached “secures the key priorities of our membership,” including more access to mental health resources for students and increased parental leave, as well as increased salaries for staff.
“We have great news for the students, families, caregivers, residents and educators of Newton. We expect schools to be open Monday,” Fuller said in a statement. “We are thrilled to get students and teachers back in their classrooms.”
“We are also thrilled to settle a new four-year contract that honors the tremendous work our teachers do,” she continued. “A contract the city can afford — a contract that serves our students.”
Oh, this was all about the students? Really?
— Crisis in the Classroom (@CITClassroom) February 2, 2024
According to Indeed, teachers in Newton are paid fairly well:
Average Newton Public Schools Teacher yearly pay in Massachusetts is approximately $61,860, which is 30% above the national average.
And that was before the new contract. Now they’ll make even more.
The Boston Herald reports:
Newton teachers strike is finally over, 12% pay hike over 4 years
After 11 days of no school, the contentious Newton teachers’ strike is over.
The union had already said they were “extremely close” to coming to an end on Friday, while a judge threatened higher fines for the union if the two sides didn’t reach a deal by the end of the weekend.
Minutes before the deal was revealed, union members were singing and shouting, “When we fight, we win!”
The deal was announced just after 9 p.m. Friday with “concessions” for higher pay for aides, more parental and family leave, mental health counseling for students, and a cost-of-living raise for teachers.
The union was seeking a 20% hike in pay, but they negotiated 12% over four years — that will equal 13.5% “compounded” over the life of the deal, Talia Gallagher, of the Newton Teachers Association, told the Herald late Friday night.
Featured image via YouTube.
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