The Brookline Educators Union has taken steps to address the impact that the COVID-19 crisis has had on the community.
First, the BEU donated $5,000 to the Brookline Community Foundation. This money was originally budgeted to cover the cost of meetings that cannot be held, including BEU members’ attendance at the Massachusetts Teachers Association’s Annual Meeting of Delegates. The meeting, scheduled for early May in Springfield, will now be held remotely given the state of emergency that prevents large gatherings.
Second, the BEU endorsed the Massachusetts Building Trades Council’s call to halt work at all non-emergency construction sites, including Brookline High School, until it is safe to resume normal operations.
“We need to take care of one another during this crisis. The health risks and economic instability brought on by the coronavirus affect everyone and call on us all to contribute however we can to ensure the well-being of all,” said BEU President Jessica Wender-Shubow.
The Brookline Community Foundation has seen a surge in requests for help and is responding with food and housing assistance.
Frank Steinfield, interim chief executive officer of the foundation said, “On behalf of the Brookline Community Foundation board and staff, we are thrilled to receive such a generous gift to the Safety Net from the BEU. Thank you all for stepping up in support of neighbors facing sudden hardship during the COVID-19 crisis. Together, we can make a difference as needs continue to grow in our town.”
BEU Vice-President Bob Miller added, “while Brookline High School is undergoing a necessary expansion, it is essential to keep workers and their families safe and to lessen pressures facing the health care system. So, at this time, it is appropriate to temporarily stop the construction work there.”
The BEU further called on the building trades employers to ensure that workers are paid and continue to have access to benefits during this necessary pause in construction.
“Our ability to meet all of our students’ needs during this unprecedented crisis is directly linked to the overall well-being of our communities, and the BEU stands ready help in whatever ways it can,” Wender-Shubow said.