When I ran for president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association I ran headlong into attacks about my character, my competency, and the intentions of our reform caucus. We were accused of being divisive, of being controlled by outside forces, and of cheating.
The union’s previous leaders had cut deals with legislators to limit seniority rights, increase the cost of health insurance, and allow student test scores to be included in teacher evaluations.
After three weeks on strike, members of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers voted to accept a new contract that brought significant wins and made inroads on critical issues.
The wins: education support professionals (ESPs) will receive $4 more per hour over the two years of the contract and retroactively; they will also receive a one-time $6,000 payment split over two years and opportunities for more hours and days of work.
When Frank Carrico talks about why he and his co-workers at the Heaven Hill distillery went on strike, he talks about family. “I missed out on my kids’ activities” because of forced weekend shifts, he says. “I missed out on a lot, and I don’t want the young people coming behind me to have that happen to them.”
When we spoke, the distillery workers had just come off a six-week strike demanding to maintain a 40-hour week, Monday-Friday, with overtime pay beyond that.