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  • Writer's pictureMike Zilles

NTA EBulletin May 7, 2023


Coming the week of May 15: One day a week, modified "work to rule."

In this issue:


Contract Action

In our April General Membership meeting, Contract Action Team co-chairs Kelly Henderson and Mike Schlegelmilch emphasized two essential elements to a successful contract campaign: building a strong communication network and successful participation of the membership in ongoing and escalating contract actions. In doing this, a successful contract campaign not only demonstrates its strength to the school committee, central administration, and mayor with whom it is bargaining--it also demonstrate its strength to itself. So far in this campaign, we have quite successfully:

  • Stood out in large numbers to support the override. The override vote was not successful. Our standouts were. Everyone in Newton knows that we we stood out for our schools.

  • Lined the halls before each bargaining session to support our NTA Negotiations Team. Sign up to keep this support happening for our next negotiations sessions on May 18 and June 1.

  • Built a powerful and growing social media presence. Visit our NTA website and NTA blog, our facebook page, and our instagram page.

  • Demonstrated our solidarity on T-shirt Tuesdays and Wear it Wednesdays;

  • Attracted nearly 700 members to our April General Membership

Before the end of the school year will be expanding and escalating our campaign in various ways:

  • We will soon coordinate an email campaign to the mayor demanding an end to the chronic underfunding of our schools

  • We will continue our efforts to restore kindergarten aides. We have filed a grievance, distributed buttons, organized teachers and aides, and are building support in the parent community. These same parents have written this petition, which we urge you to sign.

  • We have begun a lawn sign campaign....if you live in Newton, sign up here to get yours.

Finally, I come to the crux of the matter--where we need the support of ALL of you. We will be escalating our campaign this month to begin a modified one day per week work to rule beginning the week of May 15. Doing this successfully will not be an easy lift. It will be a palpable stress test of our ability to act in solidarity in support of the campaign for a new contract. What is modified work to rule? Everyday and unmodified work to rule doesn't work. It pits member against member, school employees against the parent community and students, and ends up dividing everyone. We are not doing that. So what are we doing? Once a week, on the day you determine is best working with your building reps and building contract action team members, you will:

  1. Wear your blue shirts to show union solidarity.

  2. If you are in the building either before or after contract hours, put a “Do Not Disturb – It’s Outside of Contract Hours” door hanger on your door.

  3. Gather with your colleagues at the start of the contract day to walk into the building together in a show of solidarity.

Work to Rule Dos:

  1. Teach and support students during contract hours.

  2. Write college recommendations.

  3. Lead clubs, sports, and activities for which you receive compensation.

Work to Rule Don’ts:

  1. Do not participate in any unpaid after school work, activities, or committees.

  2. Do not meet with parents, students, or colleagues outside of contract hours.

  3. Do not respond to emails outside of contract hours.

And if parents ask you why you are doing this, here is a simple graphic that we will be printing for you to hand out:

This flyer--thanks to you, Liz Simpson--shows us all what is stake in these negotiations!


Charles E. Brown Fellowships

The Newton Teachers Association announces the 2023-2024 recipients of its annual Charles E. Brown Professional Development Fellowship Awards, named for the renowned educator who served as Superintendent of Schools in Newton from 1960 to 1968. The awards program provides support for the professional development the Association’s members by underwriting the cost of substitute teachers for recipients to pursue their projects outside the classroom. The following projects have received awards this year:


UNUM Disability Insurance

The NTA recommends that its members subscribe to long term disability insurance through UNUM, which provides a group plan for insurance to MTA members statewide. If you are planning on having or adopting a child, under some circumstance short term disability insurance can help you extend the period of your paid leave.


Schedule an appointment to speak with a UNUM representative by clicking the image above. To see a brief description of the plans, click here. To access a sign up form which you can download, fill out, and send to UNUM, click here.


Enrollment is currently open through the May 13.

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