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Teachers Rally at Stony Brook as Contraction Negotiations Continue

With speakers from Westford and beyond on hand to give words of encouragement, Westford Education Association vice president Mary McCusker provided assembled teachers an update on the current status of negotiations and what might be needed of a resolution

The Westford Education Association returned to the negotiating table with the Westford School Committee on Wednesday night, shortly after a rally letting assembled teachers know that there may be an escalation of Work-to-Rule activities later this year.

WEA leaders joined with allies and spokespeople from Westford and beyond to let assembled teachers know that while negotiations for a new contract came very close to an amicable conclusion a week earlier, action may be needed to ensure that the union receives what it considers to be a fair deal.

Nine-time Concord-Carlisle Teachers’ Association president Andrei Joseph shared experiences with the crowd from a similar situation his union faced several years ago.

“Anxious members came to me, as I was the president, and asked ‘how will this be resolved?’,” said Joseph. “My response was, ‘you will get the contract you are willing to fight for.’”

Following the speeches from Joseph, WEA Action Team co-chairs Jeff Haight and Kyle McDonald, and Massachusetts Teachers’ Association president Paul Toner, who spoke on the importance of schools to the overall economic health of a town.

“I know that things are tough, but this town has gotten a lot from its teachers and its public schools, and the value of (Westford’s) homes are based on the value of education,” said Toner.

WEA vice president and spokesperson Mary McCusker concluded the presentation by telling crowd that the current level of work-to-rule actions would escalate in the fall if a contract was not reached, and that “all bets would be off” in regards to what the action could possibly entail.

“I really think it will it will be a different ballgame in September,” said McCusker.

McCusker told the crowd that the union’s negotiating team had reached an agreement with the School Committee on a three year step system where the first year would be dropped in exchange to a return to steps in a second year and a “make-up” step coupled with a normal step in a third year.

However, there were still concerns over time commitments such as mandatory faculty meeting days and the amount of work days per year.

In the end, McCusker went back to the example set by Joseph where other nearby towns had found the money for contracts acceptable to local teachers’ unions.

“Other towns like Groton and Acton, towns around us, can find the money,” said McCusker. “So how can they do it and Westford not, what needs to be looked at?”

The event also provided an introduction for recently elected WEA president Jason Humphrey and new co-treasurers Colleen Tessier and Carrie Dumas, who all officially enter their roles on July 1, but will take part in negotiations immediately.

CORRECTION: 6/7/12, 8:18 p.m. - "Work-to-Rule", not "Right-to-Rule".

Martin Luther June 15, 2012 at 09:03 PM
You obviously have made a wise choice by to going the wonderful world of the private market place. It does amaze me that a clueless individual like yourself claims so much knowledge and monetary success. One thing that I will keep in mind is not to enter any buildings that you were involved in construction. BTW The MS degrees in the private world are in STEM and business not in underwater basket weaving like education. BTW Gates, Jobs and Wozniak will go down in history has the creators of the 21st century technology world. None of the 3 finished college.
Alex Finnegan June 15, 2012 at 09:05 PM
"It appears that you are well educated and know the definition of delusional. The problem is that you and the WEA are unwilling to recognize the state of delusion in which you are in. I believe that makes you and WEA psychotic delusional. The other possibility is the use of mind altering substances. A strong possibility." You keep saying that but you fail to show me how I'm being delusional? I can tell that you have no idea what it's like to be a teacher, or read a budget. My guess is you do not have a master's degree and do not know what it's like to manage people. Yet you offer such simple slice and dice solutions yet you don't understand any of the aspects involved. Most of your solutions are specious at best.
Andrew Sylvia June 15, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Okay, that's it. I'm closing auto-approved comments to this post. I've deleted two comments here, one from Alex, one from Jessie. I may have to read again and delete more.
Alex Finnegan June 16, 2012 at 04:43 AM
The other thing I noticed is almost $8 million i debt service, yet the capital planning committee has $35,000,000 in new plans for the next 5 years for which they will borrow. Dumb dumb dumb.
Dick June 16, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I agree. Enough is enough of this.

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