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  • Writer's pictureMike Zilles

NTA EBulletin: October 22

Dear Colleagues, Tomorrow, Monday, October 23, we will be rallying with our community allies at Newton North High School and marching from there to the Ed Center to deliver an unmistakeable message to the school committee: You must negotiate in good faith! I look forward to seeing everyone there. Chris and I have now visited Bowen, Countryside (sorry I forgot to mention you last week!), Underwood, Lincoln-Eliot, Zervas, Brown, Oak Hill, Ward, Horace-Mann, Burr, and Memorial-Spaulding. Next week we will visit Mason-Rice, Newton North, NECP, Bigelow, the Ed Center, and Cabot. We won't be able to visit Franklin, Day, Newton South and Peirce until the week of October 30. Chris and I have begun each of our meetings communicating to members the urgency of this year's contract campaign. This Newton School Committee and Mayor Fuller are committed to winning a cheap contract that includes multiple give-backs. And they are committed to a scorched earth campaign to win this cheap contract--using their advantages with the law, their managerial power to issue directives, and their ready access to email communication with the parent community and the larger Newton community. They are determined to force this cheap contract upon us, believing the community will support them--or just look the other way--when they do. We can't let this happen. We've sent out the press release announcing that we will have upwards of 1,000 people at the rally. I expect that is a conservative estimate. But of course, that depends on all of you! Join us on October 23! Parking: There are two parking lots at North, one off of Walnut Street and one off of Lowell. There is also lots of street parking near the building. However, NNHS is used non-stop, morning, afternoon, and evening, and tomorrow is no exception. Please avoid Tiger Drive. And follow the parking signs on Elm Rd. They apply into the evening. On Modified Work to Rule Variations on work to rule are beings practiced to good effect in many districts across Massachusetts; Lexington in particular comes to mind. But even modified work to rule, as we have implemented it here in Newton, puts strain on members. We will continue with modified work to rule--not volunteering for voluntary unpaid activities and remaining silent during staff meetings--even as we expand our public outreach. Our CAT captains are feeling a lot like "work to rule police," and we need to support them! Members will reach out to the CAT captains to ask whether a particular voluntary activity in their building falls under our work to rule guidelines. Or people don't ask, and go ahead and do the activity. Or members reach out to the CAT captains to report that their colleagues continue to participate in or organize the activities, and they are upset and resentful. CAT captains have heard from members who would like a complete list of "voluntary activities." We are working to compile a list, but we are discovering that committees may have different names in different buildings, that what is assumed to be voluntary in one building is assumed to be involuntary in another, that in some buildings principals are giving directives to participate in some activities while in others principals are not. In short, there isn't a definitive list that won't change. We are lucky to have an amazing group of people who have volunteered to be our CAT Captains. Please trust them. If in doubt, ask them, and rest assured that they will give you the best answer possible. They are in constant communication with one another, with the CAT co-chairs, with our organizers and field reps from the MTA, and with Chris and me. If they don't have an answer to your questions, they will get one. They have asked me to ask all of you to remember: to do work to rule effectively, we must remain in solidarity. When we don't, we harm each other. If we allow the school committee and mayor to impose a cheap contract upon us and to continue to underfund our schools, we will do harm to our students. It is on us to not let that happen. If we keep this larger picture in mind, it will make much clearer what we need to do now. Community Outreach

We now have over 600 lawn signs up in Newton. We are also having great success as we begin asking local businesses to display our signs. And many of them are offering educator discounts and promotions. Liz Simpson has been posting pictures of businesses who support us on social media. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more information. And Christian Collins has been canvassing Newtonville to make sure we see lots of supportive businesses when we march on Monday! Here is a (still growing) list of businesses that are supporting our campaign. When you can, please support them too! Newtonville Pizza Opticians3 Ajii Sushi Bar Title City Barbers Donut Villa Union Pharmacy Newtonville George Howell Coffee Great Harvest Bread Co Fulfilled Goods Newtonville Books Hummingbird Books Redi Cannabis Super Dough Pizza Parallel Sound Studio Kidcasso Studio The Walnut Market Spa Paula B Dr. Renee Moran Spa Skin Spa Chestnut Hill Gray's Anatomy Academy In solidarity, Mike Zilles, President Newton Teachers Association


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