Since November 2018, the Winthrop Teachers Association (WTA) has been working diligently to negotiate a contract settlement with the School Committee. On June 30, 2019, agreements for teachers, Education Support Personnel (ESP), secretaries, and nurses, expired, leaving behind unsettled contracts and staff. During the last bargaining session of the school year, hundreds of staff members wearing red gathered in front of the high school/middle school and marched into the meeting while chanting “enough is enough” and “contract now.”
The unsettled contract brought discouraged staff members back to voice their concerns on October 9th, when they met with the school committee’s bargaining team for the seventh time. Again, a strong presence of staff members were chanting, wearing red, and holding signs, as they entered the negotiation session, only to face another disagreement on the contract. The bargaining team and the WTA did, however; agree to enter a non-binding mediation.
According to WTA President, Kristen Reynolds, the lingering issues relate to teacher schedules, salary, and respecting the teachers’ professional judgement.
“Unfortunately, the school committee is not willing to bargain with any other units until they have come to an agreement with the teachers, the largest bargaining unit in the district, as well as the town,” said Reynolds.
Chairman of the School Committee, Valentino Capobianco, shared his concern for the students.
“We deeply value our teachers, ESP’s, custodians, staff, and most importantly our students. We need to continue to fund our school system beyond Chapter 70. It is my hope that the mediation process will help us reach a contract that is fair to our staff, taxpayers, and driven toward student achievement.”