ANDOVER, MASS. (WHDH) - A rally was held in front of the State House in Boston Tuesday in support of the ongoing teacher strike in Andover as the union and school committee returns to the bargaining table in the hopes of coming to an agreement that will return kids to the classrooms.
An Essex Superior Court judge ruled Monday that the Andover Education Association will face large fines for each day the illegal teachers strike continues. Hours later, it was announced that school would be canceled again Tuesday after a fourth day of failing to reach a contract agreement.
News of the ruling came after striking teachers in Andover made their voices heard, interrupting a planned school committee news conference. The judge’s ruling means the union will face a $50,000 fine for Monday and that figure will increase $10,000 a day for each day the strike carries on.
Members of the Andover Education Association voted on Friday to authorize a strike after months of negotiations with the Andover School Committee over a new contract.
“What do we want?” said Andover teacher Frank McCall on Monday. “We want a fair contract.”
Shortly before 12 p.m., teachers chanted and held signs at High Plain Elementary School, where school committee members had planned to speak.
The school committee ended up postponing its scheduled availability for 90 minutes due to “safety concerns.”
Speaking with reporters, union members said members of the school committee stayed out of view in a school library with police on hand.
“They were very scared of teachers and instructional assistants who want a fair, competitive cost of living adjustment,” said Julian DiGloria of the Andover Education Association. “This is a very scary thing we’re doing.”
The strike in Andover includes some 800 union members.
While the Andover Education Association admits this strike is illegal, members said they will stand strong for the community and for students.
“Time and time again, I’ve seen the school committee disrespect and undervalue our teachers and it’s about time that something changes,” said Andover High School Senior Nate Allen during a rally in support of striking educators.
The Andover Education Association is asking for a four year contract featuring an 18% raise for teachers and a 34% raise for instructional assistants, whose pay currently starts at only about $25,000 a year.
The school committee has offered teachers a 14.25% raise over four years and a 24.3% raise for their assistants.
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