Ready to Work, But Not Indoors: Educators Bring Lawn Chairs
Educators in Andover, Massachusetts, set up lawn chairs, folding tables, and laptops in the shade of trees and next to school tennis courts and got to work on their first day of professional development August 31.
The superintendent and school committee had announced a virtual professional development day—but insisted that educators be in the school building for the sessions. Yes, that meant that educators were to enter buildings with other adults in order to sit in empty classrooms to participate in virtual training.
WEBINAR: No Shock Doctrine: Organizing to Defend Public Colleges and Universities
Join Labor Notes and the Public Higher Education Workers this Tuesday May 19 at 5 PM EDT to hear public education workers speak about organizing for fully funded public higher education in the midst of the pandemic.
VIDEO: Educators Speak Out on Organizing During the Coronavirus Crisis
Two hundred education workers from across the United States and Canada were on a call together to learn from each other about how to organize in the face of the novel coronavirus. As the virus extended its reach in Seattle and New York City, educators fought to shut down the schools.
VIDEO: Organizing in the Face of the Coronavirus
In the light of this pandemic, it is imperative that we protect workers immediately, prevent the exploitation of this crisis by management, and consider how to use this moment to advance demands that last far beyond the coronavirus.
How do we do this? What is happening and what can we learn from each other?
Almost 900 people joined a Labor Notes webinar to hear from educators, an Amazon worker, and a worker center organizer about their successes organizing in the face of the coronavirus.
Strikes Are Hard Work
They stood on a picket line at the entrance to the school parking lot: seven educators out on strike for the first time.
Public sector strikes are illegal in Massachusetts. But the night before, after two years of fruitless negotiations, the 300 members of the Dedham Education Association had voted overwhelming to walk out.
Now educators lined the main street from the high school to the middle school, celebrating each passing car that honked support.
“I’m nervous,” said one. “I am a new teacher, two years in the district.”
Defying Injunction, Massachusetts Teachers Strike
In Massachusetts, strikes are unlawful for public sector workers. That didn’t stop the Dedham Educators Association from walking out this morning after an overwhelming 248- 2 (out of 280 members) strike vote last night.
The educators in this Boston suburb are crying foul about health insurance costs that eat into their salaries, and district demands for more time on the clock and in professional development without any increase in compensation. Teachers are also demanding contract language that allows for real enforcement of sexual harassment policies.