Massachusetts lawmakers introduce bill that would potentially prohibit teachers from striking

Photo courtesy of MGN

Photo courtesy of MGN

By Nina Campanello

Last month’s teacher strike in Newton has reignited debate in Massachusetts and on Beacon Hill
about the laws prohibiting teachers from striking in the state.

“A strike is a very important right that we need to protect,” said Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven.

Uyterhoeven, along with two other state lawmakers, have created “The Right to Strike” as an
effort to repeal the law barring public employees from taking part in organized walkouts.

“This bill, while it is to restore the right to strike, it’s about having fair bargaining practices,
which hasn’t played out,” Uyterhoeven said. The bill has the support of some teacher’s advocate groups, like Massachusetts Teachers Association.

“We think a growing number of legislators realize something needs to be done and that there is
an unequal playing field,” said Max Page of the association.

The Massachusetts Association of School Committees had other views on the legislation.

“The field is pretty much level, and they argue that the right to strike is necessary to level the
playing field, but actually, they have a lot in their arsenal to go with, and they use it,” said
MASC Executive Director Glenn Koocher.

The debate will continue as both sides brace for more labor disputes in upcoming years.
The Right to Strike bill was only recently sent out for further study, which makes it unlikely to
be voted on in the upcoming session.