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  • Writer's pictureMike Zilles

NTA EBulletin October 23, 2022

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

In this issue:

Parent/Educator Collaborative

Reminder: The Parent Educator Collaborative meeting is this Thursday, October 27, at 7:30 p.m. Please RSVP by clicking here.

At the Negotiations Table: Session #1 - 10/20/22

by Elizabeth Ross Del Porto, NTA 1st Vice President

Your union negotiations team is pleased to report that we concluded our first joint negotiations meeting last week, attended by our full NTA team, school committee members, district administrators, and Liz Valerio, Newton’s outside counsel. The district team had expressed interest in having our first meeting be about setting ground rules; each team came with a proposal. Fortunately there was some overlap in the respective visions, including a hope that negotiations be conducted quickly and efficiently. Here’s how it went:

  • The district shared their ground rules proposal.

  • We caucused and decided we could not agree to anything that limits what we can propose or how we are permitted to conduct bargaining.

  • They returned; we shared our proposal.

  • They caucused and returned to accept key aspects of our proposed ground rules with some minor revisions.

  • After a brief NTA caucus, NTA agreed to the ground rules as amended.

  • Both sides agree that avoiding a lengthy, protracted process is a goal.

  • We set dates for four additional meetings between now and December break.

Overall, we were pleased with day 1!

Educators Return to the Classroom in Malden and Haverhill In Malden, educators returned to the classroom on Tuesday, October 18, after being out on strike for one day. In Haverhill, educators returned on Friday, after being out for four days. In both Associations, members won gains that seemed impossible a week ago. Congratulations to the proud members of the Malden Education Association and the Haverhill Education Association for their pathbreaking victory!

Fair Share Amendment We have one more canvasses scheduled for Newton: Sunday, October 30, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., meeting at Newton North High School, in the Lowell Street parking lot. Click on the link to RSVP.

Weingarten Rights and Weingarten Letters Union members have a legal right to representation at any meeting with their supervisor that could lead to discipline. This is known as Weingarten rights. However, it is not the employer's responsibility to inform a union member they have this right. But if a union member invokes the right, the employer must honor it. Practically speaking, this means two things: Either a union member can anticipate this possibility, and brings a representative with them to the meeting with their supervisor, or, if the union member feels a meeting is heading down a path to discipline, they can ask that the meeting stop and be rescheduled when a union representative is available. Either way, the union member must be aware they have this right, and they must overcome any fear they may have to invoke it. "Weingarten Letters" are really specific to Newton. In Newton, if a supervisor believes they are investigating an employee around an issue or incident that could lead to discipline, they send out what in Newton we call a "Weingarten Letter" asking the member to attend the meeting, and informing them they have a right to representation. It can feel very intimidating for a member to receive a letter asking them to attend an investigatory meeting, and informing them they have a right to representation. But in fact, administrators are being proactive, and in fact they are protecting our members' rights--letting them know in advance they have a right to bring in representation. They are not required by law to do this--they are going above and beyond what the law requires of them. If you receive a "Weingarten letter," seek representation for the meeting. If you are in a meeting, and it turns in a direction that causes you concern that the meeting could result in disciplinary action, stop the meeting and ask that it be rescheduled to a time when you can bring in representation.


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