11/11/23 By Gandharvika Gopal
Negotiations resumed Saturday for Andover, Massachusetts, teachers in ongoing bargaining over contracts.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been over 20 bargaining sessions between the Andover School Committee and the Andover Education Association (AEA), a local labor union. An agreement on terms for new teacher contracts has yet to be met.
The AEA began a strike during an emergency meeting Thursday night, which resulted in canceled classes for around 5,500 students in the area. “It’s time we end the never-ending and divisive negotiations,” said a statement on the union’s website.
“Going on strike is a last resort to get the School Committee to settle a fair contract that supports educators and students. The School Committee can prevent any disruption to our school year by working with educators to reach a contract agreement that benefits the entire community.”
The union continues to push for pay raises for teachers and instructional assistants, increased paid leave, extended lunch and recess time, and more. According to its website, the AEA “represents over 850 teachers, service providers, nurses, instructional assistants, and school secretaries.”
The Andover School Committee criticized the union’s strike that resulted in canceled classes Friday. However, much of the school community showed support for the hundreds of teachers on strike Friday.
“Nobody wants to be out here; we want to be in the classrooms; we’re passionate about teaching and delivering services, but it has been made so difficult by the district to do that effectively,” Matt Bach, a history teacher and union president, told NBC10 Boston.
According to NBC10 Boston, the union said some progress was made following Saturday’s negotiations. Despite that, “many significant issues remain unresolved.”