Thursday, 4:30 PM
Quincy teachers end 4-day strike, but donít approve tentative contract
(Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)
Linda Monaco, left, a spokesperson for the Quincy teachers union, hugged School Committee member Elaine Dwyer today as Mayor William J. Phelan answered questions from the media about a tentative contract agreement.
By April Simpson, Globe Staff
Quincy teachers this afternoon agreed to return to the classroom after a four-day strike, but the union will not vote on the tentative contract until next week.
The decision by the 890-member Quincy Education Association will allow students to return to the city's 19 schools on Thursday.
Two contracts are under discussion, one for two years and another for three years, said Paul Phillips, the union president. The tentative deal reached earlier today with the School Committee would provide an average annual raise of 3 percent over the next five years, Phillips said. The agreement would also require teachers to pay for 20 percent of their health insurance, an issue that had been a sticking point for many teachers who were concerned about rising health costs.
The union leadership held a meeting this afternoon seeking a vote from the membership on the tentative deal, but came out saying that all the teachers agreed to do was to go back to classes.
As the teachers walked out of the meeting, held at Boston Teachers Union headquarters in Dorchester, none appeared happy. Advised not to talk by their union leaders, most teachers refused to talk to reporters. One who did would merely say that they were going back to work and would get the next week to review the tentative agreement.
The tentative deal was announced shortly after noon at a press conference at City Hall with Mayor William J. Phelan, School Committee members and a representative from the union.
"Weíre moving forward positively, and weíre going to get the kids back to school," Phelan said.
Linda Monaco, a spokeswoman for the Quincy Education Association, echoed the mayor's upbeat comments.
"We are so pleased and relieved," she said, and later added, "Our membership has been resolute from the start. We wanted nothing more but a fair contract."
Teachers walked off the job Friday in what was the first teachers strike in Massachusetts in more than a decade. On Tuesday, a Norfolk County Superior Court judge threatened to fine the union $150,000 if the strike continued. Teachers strikes are illegal in Massachusetts.
The School Committee and the union had been negotiating for the past 15 months.