FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 19, 2020
Contact on behalf of the Boston Teachers Union
Vishakha Mathur, 617-890-9165, firstname.lastname@example.org
Boston Teachers Union and allies release Common Good demands in wake of COVID-19 pandemic
The demands call for immediate relief for impacted communities, additional paid sick days, a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures and more in face of the unprecedented public health crisis.
BOSTON - The Boston Teachers Union has joined with unions, community organizations and elected officials across our country who are calling for the enactment of Common Good demands during this public health crisis. The list of seven common good demands was drafted to aid the health and wellbeing of students, families, and workers in the Commonwealth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
BTU recognizes and appreciates the decisions made by both the City and the Commonwealth in the wake of this pandemic, including closing schools and providing free meals to BPS students. There is an urgent need for more action to be taken, including the following common good demands:
- The state must provide immediate relief for impacted communities and immediate unemployment benefits for workers who cannot do their jobs as a result of the Coronavirus.
- The state must implement additional paid sick days for all workers in Boston and throughout Massachusetts, including those not covered by existing FMLA laws.
- There must be immediate and urgent action taken at all levels of government to provide free and widely available COVID-19 testing and treatment for all residents.
- The state must pass HD. 4935 now, which would enact a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 emergency.
- The state should cancel MCAS testing for this school year.
- Officials at all levels of government should work to cease all detentions and deportations by ICE.
- The state should suspend the implementation of the March 2020 memorandum of understanding between the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the City of Boston until the crisis is over, and all parties can be at the table to decide the best path forward for our public schools.
“This list of common good demands is a great start for policymakers to mitigate the inevitable effects that this pandemic will have on workers and families across the state. In times of crisis, we need to protect our most vulnerable communities and lead with compassion,” said BTU President Jessica Tang. “We expect our public officials to step up, advocate for and ease the burden on those that are, and will be, feeling the impact of this pandemic now and for years to come.”
The teachers union has also created a BTU Volunteer Corps of BTU members who are going above and beyond daily remote teaching and learning opportunities to help those that are in need of childcare, food, shelter and more during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of press time, more than 900 members have signed on.
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The Boston Teachers Union proudly represents more than 10,000 teachers and other professionals including school nurses, psychologists, guidance counselors, paraprofessionals, and substitute teachers. Together, we advocate for the interests of students, parents and education professionals throughout the Boston Public Schools. We support investment in public education to ensure a stronger future for our students and our city. As a union of educators, we are part of a movement that seeks to improve the quality of life for all working people. We are united against all forms of prejudice and bigotry that would seek to devalue the lives or liberties of our students, families or colleagues.