BEU rallies at town hall as final push for a written agreement from BSC



Educators gathered outside of town hall on Saturday, May 14 at 10 a.m. in protest for a fair contract following months of negotiations with the BSC.

The Brookline Educators Union (BEU) held a rally at the town hall on Saturday, May 14 at 10 a.m. to protest for a fair contract from the Brookline School Committee (BSC). Public Schools of Brookline (PSB) teachers gathered, supported by community members and representatives from other educator unions from neighboring towns.

On Thursday, May 12, the BEU issued an ultimatum to the BSC after months of negotiation and will go on strike Monday, May 16 if a written agreement is not reached by Sunday, May 15.

A variety of speakers, including BEU members, other educator unions and PSB parents, took the stand in front of the crowd, supporting the BEU’s fight by presenting a speech or leading the crowd through chants.

“Hey! It’s hot in here, there must be teachers in the atmosphere,” one member of another union shouted.

Pierce School English teacher Marlene Goncalves, one of several BEU members who spoke at the protest, said going on strike is a last-resort action.

“I hope the town members know that none of us want to strike. It is the last thing I want to do. The only thing I want to do on Monday is be in my classroom, watching a Twilight Zone episode,” Goncalves said. “I do not want to strike, no one does. But if nothing else works, what can we do?”

Pierce School Science teacher and BEU member Eileen Pushee said it is important for the BEU to be able to advocate for their rights.

“I think it’s really important that we are able to bargain our working conditions, because what’s standard in other districts that I’ve worked in is not even allowed to be bargained, it seems, by the School Committee here,” Pushee said. “And like we always say: Our working conditions are the students’ learning conditions.”

One of the several PSB parents who spoke at the protest said they understand the importance of a fair contract and hope an agreement will be reached by this weekend.

“I stand with the teachers. I hope you don’t have to go on strike on Monday,” the parent said. “My high schoolers might be okay with that, but I’m not. I hope you get a fair contract this weekend.”

Another PSB parent who spoke said educators deserve greater compensation for their work.

“It’s unreasonable to expect so much from educators while giving so little in return,” the parent said.

Vice President of the Massachusetts Teachers Association Max Page said the BEU has fought hard for the betterment of the town as a whole.

“You are right and righteous in what you are fighting for. You are going to win this. You are going to finish this; whatever you need to do, this will be done and you will have done a service to the town,” Page said.

With hundreds of people gathered outside of town hall, Goncalves said she felt the support of the community of educators.

“I am feeling incredibly emotional,” Goncalves said. “It has been a long three years, but being together like this feels like a collective hug.”