Over a hundred members of the Brookline Educators Union gathered outside the annual Brookline Town Meeting on Tuesday, May 24 to urge elected Town Meeting members to pressure the School Committee to cooperate in contract negotiations.
Devotion teacher Daniel Lipton said that the aim of the BEU’s demonstration was to gain the support of Town Meeting members.
“We really want to emphasize the need for a fair contract that values teacher input, that is respectful of teacher and para time and that reflects the cost of living,” Lipton said.
Baker teacher Lesley Tomion said that the BEU’s goal is to ultimately push the School Committee to recognize the needs of school faculty.
“We want the School Committee to take us seriously, and we really need the town, our elected town members to impress upon the School Committee that we need a settlement, and we need a fair settlement,” Tomion said. “We need action, and not just more promises that things will work out, trust us. We’ve been asked to trust the School Committee for over a year now. We agreed to a one year bridge contract, and we hoped that we would hit the ground running with a new contract, a three year contract, and that hasn’t happened.”
Spanish teacher Alisa Conner said that there are a variety of different steps that parents and students can take to support the BEU.
“Contact School Committee with your opinion,” Conner said. “Also, if you are interested in supporting the union, contact teachers at your school and reach out. There are parental support committees that are working. You can see some parents here.”
President of the BEU Jessica Wender-Shubow said that parents are finally realizing the problems that the BEU is facing. She also said that teachers have finally lost patience with how slow contract negotiations have been.
According to Wender-Shubow, school faculty are determined to continue to advocate for better working conditions and teacher rights.
“What’s really amazing is that teachers are tapping into why they became teachers,” Wender-Shubow said. “They have finally recognized that there has been a problem with how little by little the joy that teachers bring to the classroom and students is being whittled away, and the love of learning, the creativity, real time for the students to get to know their teachers.”