News from AFT Massachusetts and President Beth Kontos - November 2020

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A Message from Beth Kontos

The leaves have all fallen from the trees.  The wind has turned brisk.  Blink, the holidays are upon us.  But what a strange holiday it is.  No high school football.  No tailgating.  Our family gatherings have been changed.  It is a sad turn of events but let’s just keep in mind that if we do the right things now, we can get through this winter safely in order to return to normalcy once we have a vaccine in place.  I am truly thankful for the efforts each of you put in to supporting our students, patrons, and patients across our Commonwealth.  We, at AFT MA, wish you and your family a safe and restful holiday break.

Report a COVID-19 Case or Unsafe Working Conditions in Your School or Library

School employees and public librarians are doing what they always do: taking care of their students and communities. But no matter where you are in Massachusetts or what your district's reopening plan looks like, everyone deserves to feel safe at work.
 
Help us hold local and state leaders accountable. Report a COVID-19 case or unsafe working conditions in your school or district with our easy-to-use tool. Link to the tracker:  https://www.stopthespreadmass.org.
 

Statewide Drive Outlines Ten Principles for Safe and Effective Schools

AFT Massachusetts, with the unanimous backing of its executive board, has launched a campaign to promote safe and effective schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cornerstone of the campaign is a “Bill of Rights” for students, families, educators, and school staff, outlining 10 key principles for school safety and success. School stakeholders at the local level are encouraged to adopt the Bill of Rights—via a petition or other method—and adhere to its principles.

 
“Students, families, educators, and school staff are all doing amazing work this school year under exceptionally challenging circumstances, facing hard choices at every turn,” said Beth Kontos, president of AFT Massachusetts. “This bill of rights is designed to unite stakeholders around shared values and principles, bringing us together in a spirit of collaboration at a time when it is easy to become divided. Our hope is that local communities use the bill of rights as a launching pad for the deeper conversations and joint problem solving that must occur locally.” READ MORE.
 

UMass Dartmouth Unions Are Organizing Together to Avoid Cuts, Protect Health and Safety on Campus

“Here at the UMass Dartmouth campus all five unions on campus have diligently worked on health and safety for the better part of 8 months,” says Nick Gula, a member activist with the UMass Maintainers. “In that time, with the help of our AFT field representative Mike Regan, we have successfully negotiated all the health and safety concerns that we had, like testing, signage and HVAC just to name a few.”

“Working together is our strength,” says Dr. Grant O'Rielly, President of the UMass Dartmouth Faculty Federation. “The UMass Dartmouth unions have accomplished so much by working together on health & safety issues, the salary giveback to protect jobs across the campus, and outreach to local legislators asking that the UMASS President's Office use the system contingency funds to support the faculty, staff and students working and learning together.” READ MORE.
 

Member Benefits Workshop for AFT Members

AFT Massachusetts will host a series of virtual benefits workshops to showcase the products and services available to AFT members through our members benefits program.
 
Whether you’re looking to purchase insurance, buy or refinance a home, or plan for retirement, you can find experienced and dedicated professionals who will work with you every step of the way to fulfill your goals.
 
What:   Member Benefits Workshop for AFT members
Where: Virtual Workshops via Zoom
When:  January - 19, 21, 23; February 23, 25, 27 (Tuesdays at 4pm, Thursdays at 6 pm and Saturdays at 10 am)