Woburn schools closed for 5th day as teachers strike continues

The teachers association said “significant progress” had been made in the negotiations but a tentative agreement still hasn’t been reached.

Suzanne Krieter / The Boston Globe

Schools in Woburn are closed Friday for the fifth consecutive day this week due to an ongoing teachers strike, but the union said “significant progress” had been made in talks with the city. 

More on Woburn strike:

In a statement, the Woburn Teacher Association said Thursday it negotiated with Mayor Scott Galvin and the school committee throughout the day, but that a tentative agreement couldn’t be reached by the time “Galvin called school off for Friday.”

“Significant progress was made on the teachers’ contract from today’s negotiation talks,” Barbara Locke, WTA’s president, said in a statement. “This was one of the most productive days that we’ve had. We are optimistic and expect that a tentative agreement and a return-to-work agreement will be reached on Friday. WTA educators are eager to being back in school on Monday with an agreement in hand.”


In a statement, Galvin and the school committee said it has made “many concessions while bargaining in good faith.”

“Friday marks the fifth consecutive day that Woburn’s 4,200-plus students have had their education disrupted, and the fifth day their parents and guardians have been inconvenienced unfairly … We once again urge teachers to follow both the court and state rulings that have ordered them back to work, and to resume providing high-quality educational opportunities to the children of Woburn,” the statement read. 

It is unclear why negotiations failed to end in a tentative agreement on Thursday, but previous sticking points in talks have been how much paraprofessional and teacher pay should be increased.

It is illegal for teachers to go on strike in Massachusetts. The city moved to end the strike on Monday, filing an injunction against the union in Middlesex Superior Court. A judge ordered the union to cease and desist with the strike Monday night and determined that the union should face increasing fines. Beginning Thursday, the WTA is subject to fines, starting with $40,000 for the first day. The fines will go up each day by $5,000, and payments must be made by 5 p.m.


The Woburn Teachers Association, which represents 550 staff members, voted to approve a strike on Jan. 27 following a year of failed negotiations. The union has been working without a contract since August. 

In the last year, educators in Brookline, Malden, and Haverhill have all gone on strike. In Brookline and Malden, agreements were reached after one day, while in Haverhill, teachers were on strike for almost a week.


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