The Milton teacher’s union is optimistic about getting back to the negotiating table after a large showing of solidarity at a Milton School Committee meeting on Wednesday.
A majority of the 325 teachers in the Milton Educators Association packed the Milton High auditorium at the start of the meeting, with several teachers standing up to state why they loved their jobs and why a new contract should be settled.
“We consider Milton a wonderful school district and a wonderful place to work, we love our jobs. This was a way of doing it in a positive way and [engaging] way,” said Margaret Gibbons, president of the association.
Milton has been negotiating a contract since March, and the latest three-year agreement expired Aug. 31.
After 14 bargaining sessions, little progress has been made, Gibbons said.
“Salary clearly is an issue, that’s as much as I’m going to say about it,” Gibbons said in an interview. “There are other important non-salary items as well.”
Milton’s superintendent was not immediately available for comment.
Despite the difficulties, talks have remained positive, and after showing School Committee members how unified the union was and informing the public of the ongoing discussions, hopes are high for getting back to the bargaining table on Thursday.
“We’re hoping that with this show of solidarity and support, the repeated mentioning by the speakers that its time to settle this contract and they support the bargaining team, it pushes us in the right direction,” Gibbons said.
The contract is the first to be negotiated under the Milton Educators Association umbrella, which also oversees administrators, classroom aids, and lunchroom and recess aids.
The lengthy negotiations are new to many in the association, who recall the ease pf reaching the last contract.
Gibbons said it’s hard to say if the union was even close to taking some sort of job action, but members hope to remain positive and communicative with school officials in the interim.
“Our message has been very positive, so I’d hate to say it would go somewhere else, but I don’t close the door on anything if we continue not to be successful,” Gibbons said.