Massachusetts Teachers Association eyes name change

The Massachusetts Teachers Association is eyeing a name change that would reflect the broader group of members represented by and involved with the union.

More than 970 delegates participated in a virtual annual meeting on Friday and Saturday, according to the MTA, and during that event agreed to form a task force that will “develop a democratic process and a work plan with the goal of changing the name of the Massachusetts Teachers Association in three years to honor the union’s commitment to full inclusion of all members.”

The MTA represents faculty, professional staff and education support professionals at public schools, colleges and universities. Its 110,000 members belong to nearly 400 local associations throughout the state.

The name change proposal was put forth by Yahaira Rodriguez, an education support professional in Worcester who wrote in her submission that educators “know that ‘words’ matter and can have immeasurable power and influence in culture and society.”

“One of MTA’s strongest qualities is the diversity of our profession and membership,” Rodriguez wrote. She said that the union’s members serve as role models in the education community and “must continue to demonstrate this commitment to equity and inclusion in how we operate as a labor organization, including using language and terms that reflect and express our values.”

The MTA said its delegates also agreed to create a task force studying special education issues, to re-establish its Progressive Dues Task Force, to endorse legislation supporting a right for public sector employees to strike, and “to examine the security of member contact information.” The delegates passed an operating budget of $49.7 million for fiscal 2021-2022, and a public relations/organizing campaign budget of nearly $1.79 million.

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