Education

Boston Teachers Union Prepares To Protest Over Stalled Contract Negotiations

The Boston Teachers Union (BTU) is asking its members to protest Boston Public School officials for “barely budging” on key contractual issues as the two sides continue to negotiate.

“After 220 hours of negotiations, the district has barely budged,” BTU President Richard Stutman said in a letter to members Tuesday. “We can’t wait any longer,” he continued.

Stutman asked his members to attend a March 22 school committee meeting, where he hopes to bring attention to the ongoing contractual dispute. The teachers have been working without a contract since August.

“After 15 months of negotiation, we are still far apart on key issues, and the School Department hasn’t responded to us since February 13,” Stutman lamented in his letter.

The union asserts that the school district hasn’t moved on issues like pay equity for staffers at autonomous schools, paid maternity leave and support for inclusion classes.

The union is also demanding smaller class size and paid parental leave for provisional teachers (those on the job less than three years).

Boston Public Schools (BPS) said that it offered to extend parental leave by six weeks to provisional teachers, but only if the union agreed to combat the abuse of sick days by allowing school administrators to ask teachers for a second medical opinion, something the union opposed vehemently.

BPS meets March 22 to take up a final budget vote. “We’ll be there to let the committee and others know that we are determined to obtain a fair contract settlement,” Stutman said in his letter.

The school district said it was hoping for a swift resolution to the negotiations. “We are disappointed that the BTU leadership has chosen to publicly air misleading information about contract negotiations,” BPS said in a statement, according to the Boston Herald.

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