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  • Writer's pictureMike Zilles

NTA EBulletin, March 28, 2021

NTA General Membership Meeting

We have scheduled a General Membership Meeting for Wednesday, March 31st, beginning at 5:15 p.m., to discuss, debate, and vote on the modified MOA. The School Committee voted eight to one to ratify our tentative agreement at its March 22nd meeting, with Mayor Ruthanne Fuller the sole no vote. (You can see the debate and vote by clicking here. The discussion and vote begins 2 hours and 43 minutes into the meeting.) Chris Walsh sent out information on how to access the General Membership meeting on Friday, and I want to remind you, that, as Chris said, we have set up protocols to make sure that only members can attend. Registrations for the meeting have been sent to your home email addresses. Within the registration email is your individualized link for logging into the meeting. If you think you should have received a registration and you did not, please contact Chris at so that we can resolve any issue in advance of the meeting. It will be impossible for Chris to address registration issues once the meeting has begun, so please test the link right away when you get the registration email. Click here to see this MOA, which covers the period from September, 2020 until the end of the school year in June 2021. Many of its provisions will hold until that time, and many of these have not changed since we ratified the last MOA in October, which the School Committee at that time rejected. Below is a breakdown of the contents. Provisions that have not changed:

  • Elementary DLA and hybrid learning models; middle school remote only learning model; high school remote only learning model (Section 1, pp. 2-5)

  • Revisions to the school year calendar (Section II, p. 9)

  • Accommodations for educators who have medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19, including a provision that grants members who live with a household member at high risk a right to take an unpaid leave of absence, with some limited compensation (Section V, A, p. 11)

  • Stipends for educators who were forced to change school, grade level, or teach multiple grade levels (Section V, B, pp. 12, 13)

  • Child Care assistance (Section V, C, p. 13)

  • Ten (10) COVID days for absences for COVID related absence (Section VI, A, p. 13)

  • Five (5) additional sick days (total 19); all of these sick days can be used for personal or family illness (Section VI, B, p. 14)

  • District commitment to make “best efforts” to minimize contacts and facilitate effective, accurate contact tracing, including, when possible:

    • Grouping students when in the school building so that they take the same classes together and sit in a consistent seating arrangement (Section VII, B, 2, p. 16)

  • Association exclusive right to survey staff on working conditions (Section X, pp. 18, 19)

  • Expedited dispute resolution mechanism (Section XI, p. 19)

Provisions that have changed:

  • Middle school and high school hybrid language (Section 1, pp. 2-5)

  • Requirement that educators who do not have a remote teaching accommodation now teach from buildings when teaching/working remotely (No longer permitted to work from home) (Section II, B, pp. 9, 10)

  • Enhanced HVAC language that requires district to publish room capacities based on fresh air introduction and ASHRAE 62.1 standards (Section VII, C, 1, pp. 16, 17)

  • 6 feet requirement on social distancing reduced to 3 feet IF the district provides at least weekly surveillance testing for students OR educators have adequate opportunity to be vaccinated (Section VII, A, 1, pp. 14, 15)

What this agreement does not contain: Language about the return to full in person learning at elementary, middle, and high school levels. We are currently in further negotiations with the district on the impact of this transition. The MOA that we will bring to you for ratification on Wednesday does not cover this, but there will be an MOA covering this transition, which we will follow with another GMM and a vote on ratification. What this agreement cannot contain: I’ve been pretty concise so far. Please indulge me in a more roundabout approach to this section. When the School Committee voted on whether to adopt this agreement, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller voted no, on the grounds that the MOA does not have language about the transition to full in person learning. She worried that absent this language, the district might not have the full latitude it needed to go forward with the transition. There are lots of words to describe the Mayor’s vote: I will leave these to your imagination. But the Mayor also displayed a certain ignorance of the law. On repeated occasions this school year, the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations (DLR) has ruled against union claims that districts should change learning plans based on negotiated agreements that linked the learning model to COVID metrics. These clauses were declared null and void. According to the DLR, the determination of the school learning model (remote, hybrid, full in person) is an exclusive management prerogative that cannot be negotiated away. Districts have an obligation to bargain the impact of implementing or changing a particular learning model, but they cannot negotiate away their exclusive prerogative and responsibility to determine what that model is. Moreover, even if a district has not completed negotiations on the impact of changing the learning model, this does not preclude their right to implement that new model. In other words, the Mayor’s objections were baseless. The protection she demanded in the agreement is already provided by law. All of this by way of saying that you will not find in this agreement any language restricting or affirming the right of the district to change learning models unilaterally. The former would have no legal standing; the latter is already protected by law.


Vaccination Status

To date, 492 members have responded to our survey on their vaccination status. Of those, only seven reported that they had not yet scheduled or received a vaccine. I will close the survey tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. If you have already filled it out and your status has changed, no worries. Please don't try to go back. If you have not yet filled out the survey, please do so by clicking here. It will take one minute of your time. (The survey is anonymous.) It would be great to have a larger sample to know how much we can generalize.


MTA and NEA Annual Meeting Delegate Slots Available

The NTA still has many unfilled slots to attend the MTA and NEA Annual Meetings. If you are interested in being a delegate to either meeting, please email Cindy Colantonio ( Delegates slots will be filled on a first come, first served basis. The 2021 MTA Annual Meeting this year will be virtual. It will be held on April 30th and May 1st. For more information, click here. The 2021 NEA ANNUAL MEETING (Representative Assembly) will be virtual as well. It will be held from June 30th to July 3rd. For more information, click here.


MTA Licensure Workshops

You are invited to the 2021 MTA Licensure Workshops! Register today! Want to learn more about the licensure process? Join MTA Education Policy Specialist Beth Tripathi for presentations on licensure for a variety of career stages. Please read the descriptions carefully to determine which presentation is right for your licensure needs. Sessions: 4/6/21, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Educator Licensure: Professional & Renewal 4/21/21, 4:00PM - 5:30PM, Vocational Technical Educator Licensure 5/3/21, 6:00PM - 7:30PM Educator Licensure: Basics for Provisional and Initial Licensure Early Career Educators, to register for a March 2nd workshop just for you, click here


MTA Open Enrollment for Disability Insurance Begins March 29

NTA strongly encourages members to participate in the MTA group UNUM long-term disability plan. We do not advise that you purchase short term disability insurance, as our contract provides the protections you will need if you are disabled for the period short term disability insurance would cover.

Click on the image above to learn more.

"Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose." Please take care and stay well. Mike



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