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  • Writer's pictureMike Zilles

NTA EBulletin: September 17

Click above to support your colleagues at the negotiations/mediation sessions.

See below for more information.

Strike Petition Update

"It’s our position that we, as required by law, have to flag something that gave us a reasonable inference that there may have been a work stoppage—a strike—as defined by law." Tamika Olszewski, Chair, School Committee, during September 11 school committee negotiations update. The Department of Labor Relations has still not issued a decision whether being silent during meetings and/or boycotting the opening day staff convocation are "work stoppages--a strike--as defined by law." We are surprised the decision wasn't issued by the end of the day last Monday or at the latest last Tuesday, and we don't really know what it means that they haven't issued a decision yet. But there is one thing we do know. The School Committee did not just "flag something." They petitioned the Department of Labor Relations and tried to prove, through written memoranda, affidavits, and the testimony of witnesses, that NTA members are, in fact, on strike. They did this in order to block what we believe to be legitimate and protected union actions. They likely spent tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees making this argument.

Mediation/Negotiations Update

The NTA Negotiations Team met with the Department of Labor Relations mediator Ed Sreznicki on Monday. He had met separately with the School Committee Negotiations Team the week earlier. It is clear is that the School Committee is still looking for a cheap contract that underpays and undervalues educators. The mediator seems like an honest broker that wants to help AND understands how tough it is going to be to reach agreement.

For the next few sessions, the mediator will be doing "shuttle diplomacy." The school committee will meet in one room, we will meet in another, and he will bring proposals and counter-proposals back and forth. We hope that at some point mediation will happen with both sides in the same room.

Silent Observers at Mediation Sessions

The mediator made clear each side chooses their own representatives, including allowing the NTA to invite "silent observers." So we are inviting members to come to these sessions, see for themselves how they run, and then return to their buildings and share with their colleagues what they have observed.

We are inviting 15 silent observers for each session. Sign up here to participate. (Your names will not appear on the Sign up Genius form.) The next sessions are on September 18, September 21, and October 2, in room 210 of the Ed Center. Sessions begin at 4:15. Please try to arrive at 4:00 so that we can introduce you to the process.

School Committee Meeting Visibility

Last Monday, September 11, over 200 members of the NTA came out to the first meeting of the Newton School Committee this school year. We were loud, respectful, articulate and passionate! You can see our action and hear member testimony on our NTA Facebook and Instagram pages.

The next school committee meeting is Wednesday, September 27, at 6:30 p.m. Please arrive by 6:15 to line the halls as we wait for them to arrive.

Sign up here to let us know you are coming!

We will be offering pizza and non-alcoholic beverages at the NTA office beginning at 5:15.

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

  • 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 at least 30 minutes PRIOR to the official start time of the meeting.

Again, sign up here to let us know you are coming!

Continue to Wear you NTA T-shirts!

Middle School/Elementary/NECP: Wear it Wednesday!

High School: T-shirt Tuesday!

Ed Center: Tuesday or Wednesday

Farmers' Market Visibility 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!

Silent Meetings

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.

Say "No" to Volunteer Work

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?”

    • We are not at this time organizing for members to not volunteer for after school stipended activities with students, e.g., clubs, theater, sports, though we are considering including these activities during the winter season.

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

Work Contractual Hours

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: Nill 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.

If you come in early or stay late to do planning, grading, or other preparation work, please use your "Do Not Disturb" door hangers.

In solidarity, Mike Zilles, President Newton Teachers Association


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