Haverhill schools closed Wednesday as teacher strike continues for third day

“Unfortunately, it appears that the negotiation session between the Haverhill School Committee and the HEA Teachers Union has stalled out today.”

Striking Haverhill public school teachers held a rally outside of Haverhill City Hall on Oct. 18, 2022. Jim Davis/Boston Globe

Haverhill schools will be closed to students Wednesday as a teacher strike stretches into its third straight day. 

The closure was announced after negotiations between the Haverhill School Committee and the Haverhill Education Association faltered again.

“Unfortunately, it appears that the negotiation session between the Haverhill School Committee and the HEA Teachers Union has stalled out today,” the district said in a statement. 

It is against the law for public employees in Massachusetts to strike. The Haverhill School Committee and the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board worked to get a temporary restraining order Monday from an Essex County Superior Court judge ordering the strike to stop. 


Judge James Lang issued an injunction at a hearing on Tuesday, The Boston Globe reported, which ordered the teachers to return to work and union leaders to stop encouraging the strike. The HEA could be held in contempt of the court for violating the injunction if the strike continues. The union would be forced to pay fines in this case.

“The HEA made an offer today that was very reasonable and had concessions to get school open. We expected the School Committee members we are negotiating with to agree to it,” Barry Davis, first vice president of the Haverhill teachers union, wrote in an email to supporters obtained by the Globe. “They rejected all of our student[-]focused language to make our schools better and to support our community.”  

Teachers in Haverhill have said that they are fighting for higher pay, a safe working environment, educator-directed planning time, and smaller class sizes.

HEA members and their supporters continued picketing Tuesday around the city. Almost 150 teachers and dozens of students gathered outside Haverhill High School, the Globe reported. 

Representatives from both sides and a mediator from the Labor Relations Board continued talks around 1 p.m. Tuesday. A large rally was held outside Haverhill City Hall during the session. 


Tom Jordan, Dean of the history department at Haverhill High School, told the Globe that the strike followed years of building frustration with the School Committee and Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini. The pandemic also played a role. 

“America came out of a very trying time psychologically, with this whole COVID thing, and I think we stepped out of COVID and right into a really disrespectful contract,” Jordan told the paper. “That kind of made us say we’ve had enough.”

Teachers in Malden also went on strike this week, forcing a school closure on Monday. Negotiations were finally successful Monday night, and students returned to class Tuesday. 

Teacher unions in both cities voted overwhelmingly in favor of striking last Friday. Both unions are members of the statewide Massachusetts Teachers Association, which has backed both strikes. 

MTA President Max Page and MTA Vice President Deb McCarthy said in a statement Monday that they were not surprised by the strikes, and that educators from both cities meet regularly, causing them to realize that they shared many of the same concerns. 

“In Malden and Haverhill, educators for years have been raising issues related to pay equity, safety in schools, the need for smaller class sizes, the need for sufficient time to prepare coursework and collaborate with colleagues, the need for greater diversity in their education workforce, and the need to raise the pay of Education Support Professionals above the poverty level,” the MTA officials said. “These educators’ unions finally said: ‘Enough is enough!’”


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