U.S. Rep. and former Newton City Councilor Jake Auchincloss and The Boston Globe called for an end to the Newton Teachers Association (NTA) strike and the reopening of Newton Public Schools (NPS).
“Missing seven school days – and counting – is disruptive and unfair to our children, and their parents,” Auchincloss’ Facebook post on Monday morning reads.
A Boston Globe editorial from Monday night similarly argued the strike negatively impacts children and the Newton community as a whole.
“The bigger picture here is that a strike is not how such a disagreement should be hashed out, because it causes too much collateral damage,” the editorial reads.
The NTA has been on strike since Jan. 19, following over a year of unsuccessful contract negotiations and the expiration of the previous teachers’ contract on Aug. 31, 2022.
Denise Cremin, a teacher at Newton North High School, said the NTA attempted to directly contact Auchincloss before the strike.
“We went to the congressman’s office and were told that he was unavailable for us to see him,” Cremin said. “We went to a venue where he was speaking about civic engagement and we were not allowed to see him.”
In his Facebook post, Auchincloss addressed both the Newton School Committee (NSC) and the NTA. He also said both the mayor and the NTA president were welcome to contact him.
“For the good of our city – for our families, our educators, and most of all, for our students, I am imploring both parties to ensure that schools are open tomorrow,” Auchincloss wrote.
According to Cremin, Auchincloss’ comment comes too late.
“Where were you on Jan. 19, when this strike happened, and why is it that you’re only offering help now after 12 days of teachers striking in your city?” Cremin said.
She said the Globe’s comments neglect the importance of the strike in eventually achieving the union’s contract goals.
“If we were to go back now, we would definitely not have social workers in every school building,” Cremin said. “We would not have higher pay for our Unit C members, and we would not have a modern and humane parental leave policy.”
Mass. State Rep. Jim Hawkins and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley have visited the NTA picket lines in solidarity with the NTA. Both Sen. Ed Markey and Sen. Elizabeth Warren have also publicly supported the NTA strike via social media.
“As a former public school teacher, I know how hard teachers work,” Warren wrote in an X post. “I urge the Newton School Committee to recognize their work and come to an agreement that ensures these educators get the wages and working conditions they deserve.”