Local

Brookline teachers’ union votes for possible strike Monday

The union and its supporters will hold a rally at 10 a.m. Saturday at Brookline Town Hall.

Members of the Brookline Educators Union voted Thursday evening to authorize a strike for Monday, May 16, should the Brookline School Committee and the BEU bargaining team fail to reach an agreement this weekend, according to a statement from the union.

The union and its supporters will hold a rally at 10 a.m. Saturday at Brookline Town Hall.

The school committee said in a statement it learned about the possible strike on Thursday evening.

“We are hopeful that we will reach an agreement before then (Monday),” according to the statement. “We will keep the community updated as more information becomes available. The Superintendent and School Committee are preparing contingency plans should the BEU strike.”

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In its statement, the union noted that Brookline educators have been working for nearly three years without a contract “that addresses fair and reasonable compensation as well as working conditions that meet the realities of a modern, comprehensive education.”

“We have been patient. We have been bargaining in good faith,” according to the union’s statement. “The Brookline Educators Union has never walked away from the bargaining table, contrary to what the school committee claims.”

According to a May 9 statement from the Brookline School Committee, it made a proposal during a mediation session for a 6 percent across-the-board salary increase over the period for Sept. 1, 2020, to Aug. 31, 2023, followed by an 8 percent increase from Sept. 1, 2023, to Aug. 31, 2026.

The committee said these raises are in addition to contractual “steps,” which provide automatic annual pay increases for most teachers.

The committee did not ask for any other changes to the contracts, according to the statement.

“The BEU said that this offer was ‘not acceptable,’ did not make a counteroffer, and walked out of mediation,” according to the school committee statement.

The union said it’s fed up with the school committee’s approach to bargaining.

“Or rather its active avoidance of serious bargaining,” the union said in a statement.

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The union said it’s adamant that agreements about the time that educators have to prepare for students and collaborate with colleagues, as well as the ability for the district to attract and retain educators of color, are “not only legal subjects of bargaining but also of immense importance to the quality of education provided to the students in Brookline.”

“The fact that the school committee deems these concerns unworthy of discussion demonstrates a disheartening disregard for educators,” the union said in the statement.

The union said assertions by the school committee and others about lower student enrollment are distractions.

“The inexcusable delays in settling contracts and the complete unwillingness to even talk about issues that have such an impact on students and the quality of education that we provide them have brought us to a point where Brookline educators must take bold action,” the union said in the statement.

In its statement Thursday, the school committee said it met for several hours in executive session to discuss the BEU’s counteroffer, received on Tuesday, May 10.

“We are preparing a written counterproposal, which we will send to the BEU prior to the first of our two previously scheduled mediation sessions on the evenings of Saturday, May 14, and Monday, May 16,” according to the statement.

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