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News from AFT Massachusetts and President Beth Kontos - April 2022

2022 AFT Massachusetts Boston Teachers Union Paraprofessionals and School Related Personnel Conference - April 9, 2022

2022 AFT Massachusetts Annual Convention

After the battles and hardship of the last two years, we’re ready to Emerge Stronger! at the 2022 AFT Massachusetts Convention on Saturday, May 7, 2022.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve fought hard to win critical workplace protections, protect our students and the public, and adequately fund our public schools and colleges. As we emerge out of the crisis phase of the pandemic and into a changed world, it’s just as important that we continue fighting to deliver the schools and libraries our communities deserve, the services and staffing our students need, and the workplace protections AFT members rely on.
On May 7, AFT Massachusetts members from across the state will celebrate our victories, discuss the battles we face, and be inspired to act. We’ll hear from speakers, including:
  • AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos & Secretary-Treasurer Brant Duncan
  • Juana Bordas, President of Mestiza Leadership International and author of Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age
  • Maurice T. ("Mo") Cunningham, public school advocate and author of Dark Money and the Politics of School Privatization.
  • AFT Massachusetts leaders from across the state
We’ll hear about important initiatives on this year’s statewide ballot, present Distinguished Service Awards and scholarships, and further develop our collective strength as educators and organizers. Additionally, we'll elect the AFT Massachussetts president, vice presidents (27), and secretary-treasurer. #AFTMA #EmergeStronger22

UMass Dartmouth AFT Locals Advocating For Greater Investment, More Affordability in Massachusetts’ Public Colleges

“Earning a degree from a state college – which was once heralded as a pathway of opportunity – has become completely unfeasible for most middle-class families and students across Massachusetts,” says Dr. Grant O’Rielly, President of the UMass Dartmouth Faculty Federation.
The new study from the Hildreth Institute, a local higher education policy think tank, found that tuition and fees at the state’s public colleges and universities have increased at one of the fastest rates in the nation, drastically exceeding family incomes. Since 2000, median family income in Massachusetts has risen only 13%, but even after adjusting for inflation, tuition and fees at Umass Dartmouth have increased by 57% – a $6,205 price hike. That's the second largest hike in the UMass system (behind UMass Lowell at 59.6%).
“The faculty see it on our campuses and in our classrooms. Enrollment is down. Students and families are being told that in order to attend a state school, they’ll need to take out burdensome loans because even the maximum amount of state aid will cover only a fraction of their costs," says Dr. O’Rielly. "If we’re serious about supporting and lifting up families across the state and serious about ensuring that we prepare the youth of Massachusetts to contribute to the future economy of the Commonwealth – breaking down the barriers to public higher education is a critical first step.” READ MORE.

Student Debt Workshop for AFT Members

As a union, we are fighting to make college affordable and student debt manageable. However, 45 million people in the United States owe $1.6 trillion in student loans.
  • Do you or a family member have student loan debt?
  • Are you struggling to make monthly payments or worrying about student loans following you throughout your life?
  • Are you tired of getting phone calls from loan servicers, or concerned about how to tell scams from genuine help when it comes to debt forgiveness?

If so, join us on May 17, 2022 at 4:30 pm via Zoom! Register today:  Click here to view and share our flyer!AFT

Student Debt Clinics provide:

  • Information on how to enroll in income-driven student loan repayment programs;
  • Help in enrolling in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program;
  • Opportunities to interact with members who haven’t been engaged with their union;
  • A curriculum that demonstrates the power of our union in improving the lives of AFT members and the people in our communities.
Additionally, AFT members have access to, a resource for those who need to learn the landscape of free and underused federal programs that help many student loan borrowers lower their monthly payments and, in some cases, even have their debt forgiven.

Fair Share Town Hall for AFT Members

Join AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos and US Senator Ed Markey on May 25 at 5 p.m. via Zoom to learn about how we're organizing to win the Fair Share campaign on this November's statewide ballot! Find out about this once-in-a-generation opportunity to raise new revenue for Massachusetts public schools, colleges, roads, bridges, and public transportation, and learn how you can get involved in the campaign.
The Fair Share Amendment is a proposal to add a small tax on annual individual incomes exceeding $1 million. While the amendment is expected to impact fewer than 1% of taxpayers, it is projected to raise $1-2 billion each year for investments in transportation and public education. The Fair Share Amendment is on the ballot statewide on November 8, 2022.
Complete the form linked here to register and to receive additional information about the campaign and our May 25th event.

Retirement Planning Workshop

AFT Massachusetts is hosting a retirement planning workshop on June 7 via Zoom and all members are welcome!

The financial professionals of Teacher Retirement Solutions (TRS) have partnered with AFT Massachusetts and specialize in providing independent financial guidance, strategies and solutions to educators, school employees, librarians and their families throughout New England.  Join TRS’ John Gregorio, a Certified Financial Planner, on June 7, 2022 via Zoom for a comprehensive workshop for prospective retirees. The Massachusetts' public employee retirement formula, Social Security and living in retirement will be among the topics discussed.  An automated email with the details of the Zoom meeting will be sent to members that complete the form linked below.
What:    Retirement Planning Workshop for AFT Members
Who:     Members of AFT Massachusetts
Where:  Online via Zoom
When:   June 7, 2022 from 6 to 8 pm

Standing Up for the Dartmouth Community

The UMass Dartmouth community is organizing for their school and students!  Now is the time to invest in our public colleges and universities, not to raise the tuition on our students.

Follow the link to the petition:

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