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Paras Bring Books and Joy to Kindergartners

It truly was an OMG moment—first, when the Springfield Federation of Paraprofessionals won a major grant from AFT partner First Book, and next, when thousands of kindergartners all over the city got to join a read-aloud party at their school on a Friday morning and take home a free book.
Cathy Mastronardi, president of the Springfield paras’ union, describes what it was like to bring the value of our union into a collaboration with the school district in securing the First Book grant—together, winning for their community the essential resources it would be impossible to obtain alone.

AFT Massachusetts Stands in Strong Solidarity with Chicago Teachers Union Educators On Strike

“AFT Massachusetts members stand in strong solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union in your fight for real education justice,” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. “When you bargain for lower class sizes and fully staffed schools, wrap around services and restorative justice, and equal pay and fair benefits, your fight is our fight, and we’re with you all the way.”

“We’re deeply inspired by your commitment to improving your students’ lives and strengthening your schools’ communities,” Kontos continued. “You’ve shown in the past that when we stand together and fight for what’s right, we win, and we have no doubt you’ll prove it again. Educators, parents, students, and community allies in Massachusetts are standing with you until you win a contract that’s good for students and fair to educators – whatever it takes.”

Lynn Educators Working Together for a Successful Contract Negotiation

“The Lynn Teachers Union’s contract negotiation shows what we can achieve when educators identify the outstanding needs that exist in our schools and work together with students, parents, and community members to fix them,” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. “From higher pay for new employees that will help the Lynn schools attract great new educators, to an extra 40 minutes each week for elementary school teachers to communicate with parents or prepare lesson plans, this contract is good for Lynn students and fair to their educators. Congratulations to all the members of the Lynn Teachers Union on their new contract!”

Union Member Candidate School

Support for union members running for elected office is a top priority of AFT Massachusetts and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.  AFT Massachusetts members interested in running for office are encouraged to participate in Union Candidates School hosted by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.
We know that when our members run on a platform of working people’s values and receive unified support from the labor movement, we will win. The Massachusetts AFL-CIO and its Executive Board are establishing a union candidate school to train our members to run for elected office from the local/municipal level all the way up to statewide/federal office.

AFT Massachusetts Statement on Education Committee School Funding Bill

The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education released the “Student Opportunity Act,” their proposed legislation to implement the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission and increase state funding for local schools.
“While it will take time to fully analyze the education funding bill announced on September 19th, the funding provisions appear to be a major victory for our students and our schools!” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. “Thanks to everyone who rallied, wrote letters, or called your legislators.”

Two Important AFT Massachusetts Leadership Development Opportunities This Fall

At AFT Massachusetts, our strength comes from our collective organizing power, which depends on our members and local leaders continually developing their skills as union organizers and leaders.
AFT Massachusetts is offering two important leadership development trainings this fall: our Annual Fall Leadership Conference, and our Member Organizing Institute. Both are important opportunities to develop your leadership and organizing skills.

Back to School and Labor Day Message from AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos

Welcome back to a new school year! As you return to your schools and welcome new students this fall, I want to share several updates on ongoing campaigns, activities, and opportunities for AFT Massachusetts members.

This school year, I’m committed to winning a historic reinvestment of state funding in our public schools, continuing to train and empower organizers in locals all across the state, and building our collective power as educators and union members. I look forward to working with all of you in the coming year.

AFT Massachusetts Statement on Final FY20 Budget

Today’s budget is a significant down payment towards the equitable preK-12 school funding that students across Massachusetts so desperately need. We’re glad to see the House and Senate agree on increased state education aid that prioritizes funding for low-income communities whose students have the greatest unmet needs, especially students of color in low-income urban schools and students in rural communities.
Legislators must now build on this progress by passing a comprehensive education funding bill that commits the state to school funding equity over the long term. Specifically, our students need legislators to fully implement the recommendations of the bipartisan Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC), including setting the “low-income increment” at the maximum rate recommended by the FBRC, as the Promise Act does: 100% of the base rate in the poorest communities.