Massachusetts Retirees United

HAPPY RETIREMENT!!!!! Wait. What? You are not ready to retire? You just began your teaching career, or you just finished your tenth year, or twentieth year, or thirtieth year? So why start to worry about retirement?

Working together is what the Massachusetts Retirees United does best. The MRU is currently working to increase the benefits for elderly retirees who retired before 2004. In the wake of staggering inflation, retired educators are facing rising costs of basic necessities such as food, rent, gas and healthcare. Everything we can pass and advocate for, we will. Members of the MRU depend on us to fight for them.

#AFTVoices Pina Maggio: Lowell Teacher Academy Aims to Provide Educators with Opportunities for Professional Growth 

The Lowell Teacher Academy (LTA) is the “brainchild” of the United Teachers of Lowell (UTL).   Paul Georges, UTL President, saw the need back in the early 90’s for a venue that would allow teachers to pursue excellence in their practice right here in Lowell at a reasonable cost.  Hence, the LTA was “born.”  Since that time, hundreds of teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, tutors, etc., have taken advantage of the LTA offerings.  
Pina Maggio, Director of the LTA, explains the purpose of the LTA is twofold:  To provide incoming teachers with a comprehensive Induction Program; and, to provide all staff the opportunity to attend workshops and enroll in courses that will enhance their teaching practice and skills.

The LTA Induction Program assigns new teachers in Lowell a mentor.  Mentor teachers are expected to support new hires in developing the interpersonal skills and knowledge to meet the needs of Lowell’s diverse student population.  New hires are required to attend workshops and seminars that enhance teaching and learning.

Essex Tech Teachers Secure New Contract

“The milestone achievements in this contract will help to make our school both more sustainable and more successful for students and teachers,” said Debora O’Reilly, Union President and Biotechnology teacher. “This accomplishment  would not have been possible without more than a year of organizing by teachers, students, parents, and community members. We achieved this together.”

“As a vocational school, we teach all of our students the value of hands-on experience in our various fields,” said Cassia Gilroy, Union Vice-President and Cosmetology Teacher. “In addition to addressing concerns around workload and compensation, this contract will make great strides in recognizing the value brought to the school by our CTE teachers’ real-world experience.”

Holliston Educators Vote "No Confidence" in Superintendent

“Holliston educators care deeply about the future of our school district. Our school community deserves a leader who is able to prioritize developing relationships and can effectively collaborate with all members of our school community,” said Holliston Federation of Teachers President Jaime Cutone. “The membership of the Holliston Federation of Teachers is united in our view that we have no confidence in the leadership ability of Dr. Susan Kustka. It is time that the School Committee hear our concerns and take action to address the issues brought forward.”
“Holliston Public Schools raised me. Our teachers, our support staff, and our administrators worked as one to serve the students,” said a Robert Adams Middle School educator who wishes to remain anonymous. “Never did I ever imagine feeling the tension and sadness our Superintendent fosters; and that’s exactly what our students are being exposed to now.”

New Collective Bargaining Agreement in New Bedford

After months of complex negotiations, the New Bedford Federation of Paraprofessionals has reached an agreement with the New Bedford Public Schools on a contract that will deliver significant pay increases and benefits for our members, who have spent years doing essential work for poverty wages.

I'm especially proud that New Bedford Paraprofessionals will see pay increases of 14-28% over three years, bringing us much closer to the living wage we deserve. This historic contract also includes numerous new benefits, including funeral leave, recognition of the Juneteenth holiday, and increased pay for Paraprofessionals who serve as substitute teachers or who work in the district's most challenging programs. Finally, the contract also includes annual retention bonuses and longevity payments that we hope will help retain more paraprofessionals and help alleviate the staffing shortages that our schools currently face.

Major Push for Thrive Act Underway—Member Action Critical to Success

The bill, An Act Empowering Students and Schools to Thrive (or the Thrive Act, for short), would equip local communities with the tools and resources that students and schools need to succeed, and dramatically reduce the harm caused by the high-stakes, punitive use of standardized tests, such as state takeovers and denying students high school diplomas.

“This bill is about lifting up students, lifting up schools, and lifting up communities,” says Kontos. “And it’s about freeing students and educators from the shackles of punitive, high-stakes standardized testing. Like the Student Opportunity Act, the key to victory will be grassroots advocacy and organizing, and AFT MA members must be front and center in those efforts.”