Tell the Northampton School Committee - "I'M WITH NASE!"
Despite hundreds of calls and letters and hours of testimony at public meetings, Northampton's School Committee has refused to respond to NASE's bargaining proposals. The School Committee's Chief Spokesperson, Downey Meyer, claims that Northampton has reached their "financial limits" despite Mayor Narkewicz's statements that he will appropriate additional funds to reflect what the School Committee negotiates. The School Committee also refused to negotiate over non-monetary language items, and rejected NASE's proposal to alter the current Sick Leave Buyback Policy which incentivizes sick educators to work rather than stay home and could save the district over $800,000.
NASE is saying NO MORE! Regrettably, NASE will initiate a work to rule campaign to reach a fair contract starting on Monday 5/20/19. This means that educators will only meet their contractual obligations and nothing more. The goal of this to show the School Committee how much Northampton educators do voluntarily in order to demonstrate why we deserve a fair and respectful contract for our work. We love working with your children. Educators throughout the District are simply asking that the School Committee live up to the values that we instill in our children and that Northampton promotes: dignity, respect and social justice. Please send a message to the School Committee, City Council, and Mayor Narkewicz that you stand with NASE in taking action to secure a fair contract. Tell them: "I'M WITH NASE!"
For more information about why we are implementing work to rule, or what that means for your child or our community, keep reading below. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to a Northampton educator or the NASE Executive Board-- or come talk to us before or after school at one of our standouts!
Here are the issues:
1) Salaries for all Northampton school employees rank near the bottom in Western Mass and also in the Commonwealth. Many of our lowest paid employees make less than $15.00 an hour. The School Committee has refused to address this. In addition, we have lost many staff to higher paying jobs in other Districts. You may know former Northampton educators who have left and are now working in surrounding communities, or current Northampton educators who are considering their options. The School Committee’s last offer would continue to place us below average.
2) To address a discriminatory practice against new mothers, the District proposed to punish all. Currently, our contract requires women on maternity leave to work the first day of school to get their annual sick leave. Imagine, just giving birth and having to drag yourself to school to get your sick days for the year! This is discriminatory and frankly unconscionable. The School Committee’s solution? Reduce sick leave time available to our neediest members.
3) The School Committee wants to ram through ill thought schedule changes that will affect your student’s learning. They want to change the Middle School and High School schedule. In addition, they also want to reduce teachers’ contact time with students and or reduce the amount of time we have to prepare. We asked that we form a joint committee to explore these significant changes, but that was rejected.
Because of this lack of respect for our profession and our professional voice, NASE is implementing work to rule. What does that mean for your child? Here is an overview.
1) Teachers will not be available before or after school. We will be entering the building at our required contractual time and leaving at the end of our contractual time. We will continue to be prepared for classes and deliver our instruction.
2) Staff will not participate in any voluntary activities outside the normal work day. When you see a staff member at an event outside the work day, chances are they are there completely voluntarily, because we want to be.
3) Staff will not purchase classroom items with their own money. The average teacher spends hundreds of dollars per year for necessary items that our budget does not cover.
4) Staff will not participate in voluntary committees. These committees often do most of the work of running the school. We gladly participate because we want to improve the school. However, donating time to a School Committee that does not value us cannot continue. NO MORE!