BTU contract bargaining continued on October 21st with members of the Negotiating Team, BTU Officers and Staff, and rank-and-file Silent Representatives at the zoom-table.
BPS responded to our Facilities demands, which include timely responses to work orders, working sinks in every nurse’s office, and increased access to green space, among other things. BPS rejected or partially rejected 12 out of 13 of the BTU facilities demands. While they agreed that educators will not be required to use their personal hotspots for WiFi in BPS facilities, they said that BPS is already working on all of the other items and they therefore do not belong in the contract. As educators who are in schools daily, however, we know that many of these items do, in fact, fall through the cracks and are left unaddressed, and we therefore believe that they need to be codified in the contract. BTU will respond at the next bargaining session.
BPS next addressed the BTU Housing Justice demands, which include creating a working group to identify unused city owned spaces to be converted into public housing, scaling up a program to house homeless BPS students, the School Committee committing to advocate that no evictions or foreclosures take place during the school year for BPS families and supports small scale landlords, and calling on the city to require developers who are building within ½ mile radius of a BPS school to meet with the school site council. BPS rejected all four of these demands, claiming that while they understand the importance of stable housing, these things do not belong in a contract and suggested that BTU members advocate for stable housing for their students on their own time. We assured the BPS negotiating team that BTU members do spend endless hours advocating for their students, but reminded them that this advocacy would be much more powerful with the weight of the district behind us. Housing conditions are learning conditions, and we firmly believe that this does belong in the contract. Housing will continue to be discussed at future bargaining sessions.
The meeting ended with BTU presenting demands around Inclusion and Professional Development. Lea Serena and Anne Brochu presented on the importance of having multiple teachers in inclusion rooms and ESL rooms, which is the only way students will receive the services they are entitled to. Finally, BTU presented our demands for quality professional development, including opportunities for regular early release days for vertical and horizontal groupings to engage in PD, and annually make available training during the workday, with release provided, for all high school guidance counselors (and open to other staff) who are charged with supporting undocumented students in the college application process. BPS will come to the next negotiating session prepared with questions on these topics.
At the end of the meeting, we scheduled 5 additional sessions. We will update on which sessions will be virtual, and which will be in person:
- November 16, 4:30-7:30
- November 30, 4:30-7:30
- December 9, 4:30-7:30
- January 6, 4:30-7:30
- January 13, 4:30-7:30