WOBURN, MASS. (WHDH) - Classes will be canceled at Woburn Public Schools for the fifth straight day Friday as teachers continue to strike amid ongoing contract negotiations despite a court ruling Wednesday approving fines for the strike.
Though they haven’t reached an agreement, parties said they’ve made progress toward a deal. Teachers plan to be back at the Woburn Common on Friday, protesting in shifts during forecasted cold weather.
“Today was the most productive day yet,” Woburn Teachers Association President Barbara Locke said Thursday. “If we had a productive day like this day one, we would have been done in two days.”
Strikes are illegal among public employees in Massachusetts. A superior court judge ruled that the Woburn Teachers Association would have to pay daily fines beginning at $40,000. The fine amount will increase by $5,000 per-day for each day that teachers remain on strike.
Woburn teachers went on strike on Monday. The judge assigned to the case issued an initial ruling late Monday night ordering teachers back to the classroom. But teachers have continued to strike in the days since.
Woburn city officials said the average teacher salary in Woburn schools is about $85,000. Teacher and paraprofessional pay have been among topics of debate to date in contract negotiations, with teachers pushing for higher compensation.
Local parents have had to find various childcare options through what will be a full week without school after Friday’s cancellation.
Along the way, some have been leaning on the Boys & Girls Club.
“If I had to juggle with daycare all week for someone to take her it would have been terrible,” parent Regina Cacciola said of her child on Thursday.
While many students have made the most of the time off, Woburn’s mayor said teachers “need to get back in the classroom where they belong and stop breaking the law.”
Families that have been caught in the middle have wished teachers the best despite losing another school day.
“Let’s get the teachers what they deserve,” parent Ben Pershouse said. “They work hard.”
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