The city of Boston and the Boston Teachers’ Union have agreed to a preliminary contract deal after almost a year of discussions that would provide educators with a wage boost, family leave benefits, and some class size reductions.
There will be a three-year boost in salaries for everyone, with select workers receiving further hikes. The first year of the deal would also be retroactive.
At the American Federation of Teachers convention on Thursday morning in Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu and BTU President Jessica Tang, who is also a vice president in the AFT, made the announcement of the preliminary contract. “After working over 11 months without a contract, just yesterday, we were able to reach a tentative agreement that will help us to create the schools our students and educators deserve,” Tang told the crowd at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. “Despite the challenges, so many of us are facing, we know that when we fight when we fight, when we fight.”
A legal procedure known as receivership has lately threatened to seize control of the district because of the city’s long-running battle with state education authorities, which Tang cited. According to her, Wu was successful in striking an arrangement with the state that would allow the district time to fix the issues it had been facing in ensuring special education kids and other vulnerable groups received critical services. “I am so excited about the ways in which this new agreement with the Boston Teachers Union clears the way for our school system to take meaningful steps to support our educators and help transform the experience for students across all of our communities,” she said. “I just want to say thank you again to everyone who was part of making this agreement possible, and for demonstrating that when we’re given the time and opportunity to listen to the needs of all of our stakeholders, our students and educators, our families, we can deliver the change that our communities deserve now.”
The city refused to provide the contract’s entire contents since the union membership had not yet signed or voted on it. That is scheduled to take place in September.
Wu notably stated that the deal will help children with impairments and language learners and expand a pilot program that would locate homes for BPS families without a house. WU also emphasized that “a baseline” is maintained in terms of the number of support personnel such as school psychologists and social workers.
According to a union letter to members, the deal respects a pledge to revamping special education, including targeted reductions in class size and the employment of extra instructors based on student needs.
The city’s paid family leave program will now apply to teachers’ union members, offering them 12 weeks of paid leave. Staff who wish to take time off for Three Kings Day, the Lunar New Year, or Diwali may do so without using up personal time under the terms of their contract.