Boston Teachers Union Holds Rally for New Contract
Boston, MA– Yesterday afternoon the Boston Teachers Union organized a rally outside the school district headquarters in Roxbury in support of a new contract, using the hashtag #StudentsDeserve on social media. More than 1,000 teachers, students, parents, and education professionals came to show their support for additional funding for mental health counseling, homelessness support, and inclusion for students with disabilities.
Another of the BTU’s demands is for more school nurses in Boston Public Schools. Boston 25 News reported that the number of nurses in Boston’s school district has increased (from 121 for the 2017-2018 school year to 131 for the 2018-2019 school year), but there still is not a full-time nurse in every school.
The Boston Globe captured images of signs demanding a livable wage for paraprofessionals, who often receive minimum wage for their work as special education teacher’s aides.
Boston Teachers Union President Jessica Tang spoke of the union’s goals at the rally. "There is a lot of agreement to improve our schools, the disagreement is how to best improve them. This is a reaffirmation of our solidarity and support of what we’re fighting for and show of unity for what we believe in," said Tang in a quote by the Boston Herald.
Tang emphasized the need for increased funding for mental health supports for students. "Those wrap-around supports and the social emotional health is really important and critical to the success of our students and that’s very much what we’re fighting for," said Tang.
Meanwhile, inside the school district headquarters at the School Committee meeting on the same evening, Interim Superintendent Laura Perille announced that Boston Public Schools would be adding $3 million to the budget for fiscal year 2020, reports the Boston Herald. In a statement, the district said, "Boston Public Schools remains committed to finalizing a contract with the Boston Teachers Union."
Around 7,500 BTU members have been working without a contract since August 2018. The previous contract, agreed to in August 2017, took 18 months of collective bargaining for the Boston Teachers Union to reach an agreement with Boston Public Schools. The union includes more than 10,000 teachers, counselors, school nurses, and other education professionals.