The Brookline Educators Union is fighting for a fair contract because educators know that collective bargaining is the best way to secure working conditions and compensation that value our professionalism and create learning conditions that we want for our students.
Why is it so hard to get contracts in Brookline? The answer to the question now is simple: The school committee is moving in the wrong direction. The school committee has been unwilling to agree to contractual changes necessary to meet the challenges of an ever-changing educational landscape.
We have proposed:
- Fair cost of living adjustments.
- Measures to address structural racism.
- Additional time for planning that is properly staffed to ensure no loss of student learning time.
In response, suddenly the school committee has introduced new “asks”:
- Create a longer school day with no additional pay.
- Reduce educators’ union rights to address unjust treatment.
- Eliminate language that protects educators’ ability to exercise professional judgement.
Does this look like the school committee wants an agreement?
The school committee repeatedly has been unwilling to commit contractually to learning conditions that our students need. In the absence of a forward-looking contract, Brookline educators have seen work piled on individuals. This top-down approach impedes educators’ ability to teach, demonstrates a disregard for educators’ professionalism, and ultimately produces frustrating conditions for students and educators alike.
The members of the BEU have had enough from the school committee: Enough disrespect. Enough empty talk that continually fails to consider the impact of one-sided decisions that affect the students we teach. Enough dodging and ducking the responsibility of making a commitment to the public schools Brookline deserves.
Our contract is as much of a value statement as it is a document of working conditions. The BEU is bargaining for schools that meet the academic, social and emotional needs of students. We are bargaining for schools where social, racial and economic justice are central to the public education mission. Our hard work to negotiate fair contracts is driven by the desire to have a school district where there is transparency in the decision-making and a contract that is a just and responsive, living document.
A contract is a commitment to resources and provides predictability and norms for our students and their families. We are no longer going to tolerate protracted periods of working without contracts. Our educators deserve better. Our students deserve better. Our community deserves better.
Here are some more specifics about the goals that we are now prioritizing:
- A Just Wage: Increase educators’ salaries by an average of 3% per year during the 3-year contract term (retroactive to 2020-2021).
- Fair Workload for Specialists and K-8 World Language Teachers: Reduce the untenable workload of the district’s Specialist and K-8 World Language teachers, who are required to teach more classes across multiple grade levels and lack opportunities to participate in their school communities.
- Common Planning Time: Create additional common planning time for educators to facilitate collaboration across grade levels, academic departments, and schools.
- Adequate Staffing: Hire additional personnel, recruiting from Brookline neighborhoods facing the highest unemployment rates to increase the diversity of our staff, cover all of the building-based duties, and open up common planning time for educators.
- Retaining a Diverse Workforce: Grant BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) educators Professional Teacher Status (PTS) as early as allowed by law and adopt regular meetings between them and the superintendent