The members of the Educational Association of Worcester are deeply disappointed by the decision of the Worcester School Committee and its representatives to walk away from a scheduled contract bargaining session on Jan. 26.
Educators have been working without a contract since August, and we understand that the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to delays in bargaining a new contract.
Yet we were stunned by the district’s refusal to bargain in the presence of silent bargaining representatives. The EAW has a core bargaining team that engages with the core bargaining team from the district. Other members of the EAW and from the district are invited to be silent bargaining representatives.
This process has been in place for two previous sessions, both of which went off without any problems.
Then the district instructed its lawyer to inform the EAW that no bargaining would occur in the presence of silent bargaining representatives, and no reason was given for this decision.
The EAW and the district were allowing silent bargaining representatives during these negotiation sessions. Their presence increases transparency in the bargaining process and allows for quicker resolution of issues that arise during negotiations.
Every member of the EAW has the right to witness the process that will determine their working conditions and our students’ learning conditions.
I am urging EAW members to contact members of the School Committee and explain the value of having an open and transparent bargaining process. Their email addresses are:
Thank you to all of the educators who have attended bargaining sessions as silent representatives. Your support for the bargaining team and for a contract that meets the needs of all students is deeply appreciated.