AFT Massachusetts is a union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and our communities. We are committed to advancing these principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining and political activism, and especially through the work our members do.
AFT Massachusetts Field Representatives work throughout Massachusetts and duties consist of organizing and servicing locals, preparing, and negotiating contracts, legislative activity, liaison with labor and educational groups, or any other areas of work necessary to advance the interests of AFT Massachusetts as assigned by the president or her designee..
The UMass Faculty Federation, Local 1895, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, celebrated educators who worked tirelessly to help prepare the minds of tomorrow’s leaders. Dr. Hua (Julia) Fang, Professor Meghan Fair and Deidre Healy were all honored in December 2022 during the federation’s annual award celebration. AFT Massachusetts wants to highlight these educators and celebrate their accomplishments as well. UMass Faculty Federation President Grant O’Rielly had high praise for the educators and support staff who were honored at the annual event and said that the entirety of those who fill the classrooms and support the students at UMass Dartmouth deserve recognition as well.
“We are immeasurably proud and grateful to these committed and hardworking individuals who have gone above and beyond to ensure that the students who sit in our classrooms emerge with the best education possible,” he said. “We are also grateful to those who secure the resources and support that allows these educators to accomplish this mission. The importance of unions is our ability to work together and ensure that we as educators and support staff are taken care of so that we can take care of our students.”
With the passage of the Fair Share Amendment, Massachusetts has an opportunity to build a public higher education system that lives up to our values and prepares Massachusetts students to be active, engaged participants in their communities, the workforce, and our society,” said AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos. “Students today are struggling with the cost of college and a lack of adequate support services, while adjunct educators struggle with low pay and limited benefits. Our public college campuses have insufficient funding to address crumbling buildings, rising student needs, and staffing shortages. We’re pleased to support the Higher Ed for All campaign to reverse the budget cuts that have occurred over the past several decades, and begin rebuilding a truly public state college and university system.”
“As we move away from the worst of the COVID pandemic, the impacts of over a year away from the classroom are becoming more and more evident,” said Grant O’Rielly, President of the UMass Faculty Federation. “The absence of social contacts with their friends and peers, as well as missing frequent and meaningful interactions with teachers in their classes, have left students ill-prepared as they have returned to in-person learning. This is particularly true in colleges and universities where the need for support services in mental health counseling as well as quality academic tutoring (not just "homework help sessions") has increased significantly.”
Solidarity with the members of the Woburn Teachers Association!
The union educators of the Woburn Teachers Association are organizing to secure:
● A living wage for education support professionals;
● Smaller class sizes to support the educational needs of all students;
● Physical education classes twice a week for elementary students, which is comparable to surrounding school districts;
● Fair and professional compensation for all workdays; and
● Dignity and respect in the workplace.
The families of Melrose have a right to expect the education and learning needs of their children will be addressed in the public schools. The committed educators of the Melrose Education Association are fighting for their students by demanding progress at the bargaining table on essential classroom issues.
The union educators of the Melrose Education Association are acting to secure: Enough planning time to prepare the best lessons possible for their students; Fair and competitive compensation to retain current educators and attract the best new educators; and
Improved working and learning conditions.
AFT Massachusetts stands in support of the Melrose educators receiving fair contracts and calls on school administrators to immediately negotiate contracts that are good for students and fair to teachers.
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.”
Our educators go above and beyond in many ways to ensure the needs of the students in the Commonwealth are met. Sometimes this means staying after with students, sometimes it means dipping into personal funds to make sure they have supplies, and sometimes it means donning a red suit and spreading some Christmas cheer.
In 2018, Michael Curley received a phone call from one of his wife’s closest friends. This friend loves Christmas and hosts an annual holiday gathering following Thanksgiving dubbed “Thanksmas,” and this year she was asking if Michael would be interested in donning the role of Old Saint Nick. He said he couldn’t say no to a close friend, and that the chance to play Santa seemed fun.
“AFT Massachusetts members have worked alongside Dr. Patrick Tutwiler for many years, first as a teacher in the Boston Public Schools, and then in Lynn where he served as superintendent. Dr. Tutwiler is a professional educator of the highest caliber who puts students and families first, while also respecting dedicated educators in the classroom.
“As we continue to navigate the post-COVID impact on students throughout Massachusetts, Governor-elect Healey and Lt. Governor-elect Driscoll have made the right choice in Dr. Tutwiler to lead our public schools. We look forward to working with them both to improve education opportunities for all students in our state.”
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and that saying remains true especially today. While teachers and staff are working for the betterment of students across the Commonwealth, others work behind the scenes playing equally valuable roles in providing students with the resources and attention they need to succeed.
Paraprofessionals provide a critical service to our schools and communities by providing essential assistance in a variety of ways. Certified Nursing Assistants, Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants, Physical Therapy Assistants and Paraeducators, represented by the Springfield Federation of Paraprofessionals (SFoP), are all vital members of our communities that ensure communities across Massachusetts can thrive. We talked with Cathy Mastronardi, President of SFoP about the myriad of ways these critical professionals help students, staff and communities succeed, but are too often overlooked.
“An agreement such as this has been a long time coming for paraprofessionals in Peabody,” said Doreen Blaisdell, a Paraprofessional from the South Memorial Elementary School. “Pay for paras has dramatically increased in nearby communities in recent years and I am proud to see Peabody join that trend.”
“Recent achievements such as the passage of the Student Opportunity Act and the Fair Share Amendment have provided our schools with the resources to finally take steps to recognize the critically important work done by paraprofessionals to support our students,” said Eric Blake, President of the Peabody Federation of Teachers. “The PFT appreciates the School Committee’s recognition of the importance of paraprofessionals.”