Woburn teacher strike continues into weekend without agreement

Judge orders the state's largest teachers union to stop "encouraging or condoning" the stoppage.

A Woburn teachers union and the town’s school committee failed to agree on a new teachers’ contract Friday, meaning a teacher strike is likely to continue into the weekend despite a judge’s order that the educators return to work immediately. 

Woburn Mayor Scott Galvin and the Woburn School Committee released a joint statement Friday night saying that an agreement on a successor contract still had not been reached despite days of intense negotiations with the Woburn Teachers Association (WTA).

The update came as Woburn schools wrapped up their fifth day of closures due to the teachers’ strike, which is illegal under Massachusetts state law.


On Friday, Middlesex Superior Court Judge Camille Sarrouf issued a preliminary injunction ordering the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) to comply with a Jan. 27 Department of Labor Relations (DLR) order demanding teachers return to work immediately. 

The order also calls on the MTA to “immediately cease and desist from inducing, encouraging, or condoning any strike, work stoppage, slowdown, or other withholding of services as it relates to the WTA.” 

The MTA has until 11 a.m. Saturday to notify the DLR in writing of the steps it’s taking to comply with the order. 

“We sincerely hope to come to a mutual agreement so that our students can return to learning,” the school committee and Galvin said in the joint statement. “As always, we remain committed to negotiating in good faith and coming to an agreement that is fair to our students, faculty, and community as a whole.”

On Thursday, WTA President Barbara Locke said they had made significant progress negotiating the teachers’ contract. Teachers were “optimistic and expect that a tentative agreement and a return-to-work agreement will be reached on Friday.”

That same day, the union became subject to a $40,000 fine for the strike, which was set to increase by $5,000 each additional day that teachers didn’t return to work.


The WTA represents 550 staff members who have been working without a contract since August. The union voted to approve the strike on Jan. 27. There are more than 4,200 students in the school district.

As of Saturday, both sides say there is a tentative agreement, but the final details have yet to be worked out, according to WCVB. 

Woburn Mayor Scott Galvin said he met with both the teachers union and the school committee from 10 a.m. Friday to 1 p.m. Saturday and reached an agreement on financial packages in the contracts of teachers and other school staff but not a “return to work agreement.” 


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