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  • Writer's pictureMike Zilles

NTA EBulletin: September 10




Dear Colleagues:


On Tuesday, September 5, the School Committee submitted a strike petition to the Department of Labor Relations claiming that the Newton Teachers Association was encouraging a work stoppage (i.e., strike) in the form of silent meetings and a boycott of the August 30 staff convocation. Chris and I, along with our MTA attorney Laurie Houle and MTA paralegal Kathy Nagle, spent the next day preparing for the hearing, and almost all of Thursday and Friday in the hearing. We will learn early this week of the decision.


Our attorney's argument was straightforward and compelling; The school district cannot issue directives to block legitimate work to rule actions on the part of the union. The superintendent cannot direct NTA members to attend a convocation that has historically been voluntary in order to block members from remaining in their buildings to prepare for students. The superintendent cannot compel NTA members to speak in staff meetings when such speech is, by its very nature, voluntary.


We will soon learn whether the Department of Labor Relations will agree with our argument. What we believe now, whatever the decision, is that we have not gone on strike. However, if we lose the petition, the Department of Labor Relations may require union leadership to communicate otherwise to members.


Whatever the outcome, we will continue our efforts to advocate for a fair contract. To that end, I remind members of what is coming up.

***


This Monday, Join us at the September 11, 2023 Newton School Committee Meeting at the Ed Center!

  • The meeting is at 7:00; we will gather at 6:45.

  • The meeting is still hybrid, but this year, attendance and public comment may also be in person.

  • Some may wish to join Newton residents for a 9/11 memorial ceremony at 1164 Centre Street, in front of the Fire Department Headquarters.

  • For the School Committee Meeting, we want to fill the room and the halls, so come in person if you can!

  • If you can’t come in person, then show up virtually.

  • Sign up for public comment! Let the school committee know what you think.

    • If you wish to give public comment in person, show up a little earlier and sign up on the sign up sheet.

    • If you wish to give public comment virtually, submit your NAME and ADDRESS by email with the subject line: "Public Comment for September 11" to schoolcommittee@newton.k12.ma.us at least 30 minutes PRIOR to the official start time of the meeting.



Wear you NTA T-shirts!

  • Middle School/Elementary/NECP: Wear it Wednesday!

  • High School: T-shirt Tuesday!

  • Ed Center: Tuesday or Wednesday


Join the Farmers' Market Visibility on Tuesday afternoon or Saturday morning.

  • Thanks to the many people who did visibilities this summer as well as those who delivered signs, we now have 500 "Support Newton Educators" signs posted in Newton, and the number is growing every day.

  • Markets will be open until mid-October. This is a great opportunity to build community support!


Unless we are hear otherwise, be silent at any meeting led by an administrator. Silent Meeting Guidelines and FAQs

  • Participate in the meeting in ways that do not require you to speak: take notes, complete tasks on your computer if requested to do so.

    • If the meeting sends you off to work in small groups away from the administrator, then speak with your colleagues in these groups.



Don’t volunteer to do things that aren’t part of your regular job.

  • Don’t volunteer if the answer to this question is “no”: “Is this something I do as part of my primary job in NPS?”

  • If you’re wondering whether to participate in any voluntary activity, ask your building rep or CAT captain.

  • Anna Nolin has issued this directive in her “Welcome Back” message: “If you have accepted appointment to a stipended job, curriculum writing, or some other paid activity, this work is part of the job that you accepted and agreed to perform and you are directed to follow through on that paid activity for which you have already been contracted.”

    • This does not change the fact that doing additional work is voluntary, even if stipended.

    • If you do not have a written appointment letter regarding extra work you have volunteered to do that pre-dates this directive, it does not apply to you.

    • We do not think this directive is enforceable.

    • Please contact Chris Walsh, treasurer@newteach.org, if you have been told that this applies to you.



Don’t be available for meetings, consults, emails, etc. outside of your contract hours.

  • If you have bus duty and are responsible for student safety, you of course, will not leave the students.

    • For Unit C members: fill out and submit a timesheet for the additional time outside of your paid hours. Keep a copy of the timesheet.

    • For other units: Keep a record of any additional time you spend after school to keep students safe.

    • There are funds within the METCO budget to pay for supervision of the METCO students before and after school. Anyone doing this should be compensated for it.


In solidarity, Mike Zilles, President Newton Teachers Association

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