Malden Teachers Hold Rally, Win Contract

After numerous attempts to acquire new teachers, a new way the MEA tried to garner attention to the cause was a rally at City Hall. On Oct. 15th at 4pm, the teachers and staff united to yell their displeasure. With families, students, and other staff watching, the MEA, and special presences gave speeches to the cause.

From 4-4:30, staff gathered and collected attention from pedestrians and cars. With horns blaring and pedestrians cheering in support, the MEA rally leaders set up the loudspeakers and passed out signs and posters.

The speeches went on for just around an hour, starting at 4:30pm. With Jessica Gold Boots introducing the speakers, Malden educators, staff, and even the Massachusetts Teachers’ Association (MTA) President Max Page.

Page has been President of the MTA since May of this year, serving as Vice President previously since 2018. "My goals are whatever the members want, but they're fighting for fair pay, especially for education support paraprofessionals, but they're also fighting for things like preventing evictions in the city. So there's a broad range of things they're trying to win."

Ms. Gold Boots holds several important positions: Vice President of the MEA, Bargaining Team member, and English Learner Instructional Coach. In terms of contracts, she contextualized that, “Anyone working in the Malden Public Schools, who is in a teaching role, a coaching role, an assistant principal role, or library roles… anyone in those roles, a school psychologist, paraprofessional. We are currently working without a contract as our contract expired on August 31.”

“I think a way to rectify this would be simple. It would be to come to the bargaining table, in good faith and with comments on proposals,” she commented. “We understand that there are going to be issues in which the school committee, mayor, and superintendent may not always see eye-to-eye with the Malden Education Association. However, negotiation requires dialogue and that dialogue has been non-existent. We often come to the table with pages and pages of proposals often sending those proposals in advance so that we can get responses in advance, and often when we show up it is very clear that the other side so to speak is unprepared, often not speaking at all and so I do strongly believe that we can work together. But in order for that to happen, we need to actually be speaking to each other, and so we do have bargaining 10/16/22 at 9am.”

Moments from the rally. JESSICA LI. 

Paraprofessional and Student Study Center director Kayla Morello followed the statement: “I think that my unit does great work in the buildings and we deserve to make a living wage because we do not make a living wage in the district and I think that the students of this district deserve better; they deserve teachers who are heard and understood.” Paraprofessionals make the lowest wage in the district and are at poverty-level wages. Most of these teachers end up working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet.

MHS teacher Rebecca Griffin added that “As an educator, I'm extremely passionate about what I do. And I am incredibly anxious to be back in the classroom with my students in the best possible conditions to do the incredible work that we do together.”

Colleen Ryan, kindergarten to fourth grade Physical Education teacher at Ferryway, added her own two-cents. As a teacher of 17 years, she mentioned, “After the superintendent fired about over 100 teachers, you're operating with no contract, worst pay… you have less job security. It's got to be really demoralizing, to say the least.”

After the speeches, the union dispersed to plan for the bargaining session the following day. Due to a lack of agreement, the strike commenced on Monday, Oct. 17th. More information can be found here.


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