WOBURN, MASS. (WHDH) - Woburn Public Schools were closed Monday after a full day of negotiations between the city and the Woburn Teachers Association (WTA) failed to produce a new contract and avoid a strike.
The 550 educators who were expected to gather outside Woburn Memorial High School Monday morning say they want better pay and smaller class sizes, among other requests.
“It’s not something we wanted to make happen, but please know that most of the things we were asking for was to better things for the children,” said WTA President Barbara Locke.
The issue of increased wages for paraprofessionals brought talks to a standstill after eight hours of negotiations on Sunday, with Mayor Scott Galvin calling the union’s demands “outrageous.”
“We have a deal, an offer to the teachers for over 10 percent for three years,” Galvin said. “The teachers countered with an offer 14.75, which is outrageous, and we rejected it. The reason we rejected it is it would have terrible consequences for the school budget.”
Gavin says the strike isn’t just inconvenient for families, but it is also illegal after the the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board on Friday ordered the WTA to immediately cease and desist from engaging in or threatening to engage in a strike.
According to the mayor, the Massachusetts Labor Relations Department and the city attorney will be going to court to file an injunction, which could levy fines against the WTA.
Parents are now changing their plans as they wait to see how all of this plays out.
“I will be missing out on picking up on shifts at my own job, which means it will affect our income as well, ” said Woburn mom Christine Loughran.
Although school was cancelled on Monday, free lunches were still available at Woburn Public Schools from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Negotiations between the WTA and School Committee were set to resume Monday at 9:30 a.m.
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