The members of the Brookline Educators Union overwhelmingly voted on Thursday evening to authorize a strike to begin Monday, May 16, should the Brookline School Committee and the BEU bargaining team fail to reach an agreement this weekend. The BEU and its supporters will be holding a rally at 10 a.m. Saturday at Brookline Town Hall. The BEU issued the following statement following the vote:
Brookline educators have been working for nearly three years without a contract that addresses fair and reasonable compensation as well as working conditions that meet the realities of a modern, comprehensive education. We have been patient. We have been bargaining in good faith. The Brookline Educators Union has never walked away from the bargaining table, contrary to what the School Committee claims.
Educators are simply fed up with the Brookline School Committee’s approach to bargaining – or rather its active avoidance of serious bargaining.
The BEU is adamant that agreements on the time that educators must prepare for their work with students, the time that they have to collaborate with colleagues and the ability for the district to attract and retain educators of color are not only legal subjects of bargaining but also of immense importance to the quality of education provided to the students in Brookline. The fact that the School Committee deems these concerns unworthy of discussion demonstrates a disheartening disregard for educators; it is also alarming evidence of the extent to which the committee is willing to erode the quality of education provided by Public Schools of Brookline.
Assertions by the School Committee and others about lower student enrollment are distractions. The needs of our students are greater than ever before, and the expectations of public schools to support the emotional and social as well as the academic needs of students have never been higher.
The inexcusable delays in settling contracts and the complete unwillingness to even talk about issues that have such an impact on students and the quality of education that we provide them have brought us to a point where Brookline educators must take bold action. We will no longer stand for the disrespect displayed in the approach to bargaining nor stand by while the School Committee persists in gutting a school system that many have considered to be not only among the best in the state but the best in the country. That quality is a product of the work done by the teachers, related service providers, aides, librarians, counselors, coaches, and staff working directly and daily with our students. We will always fight for what our students need and deserve.