Acton Teachers' Contract Battle: Who's Right?

Teachers and the School Committee have yet to reach an agreement on a new contract.

Acton teachers held a protest in mid-March, demanding a new contract. Credit: Pat Clark
Acton teachers held a protest in mid-March, demanding a new contract. Credit: Pat Clark
Acton teachers and school officials are battling over a new contract.

The most recent teachers' contract expired last year.

The Acton Education Association last week staged a protest Thursday on Main Street, demanding a new contract. It wants more than a 1 percent pay raise and some early release days reinstated for teachers.

The School Committee said actions like the protest are hampering the negotiations. 

"Wearing buttons in classrooms, marching, and picketing are only serving to make this process more adversarial and difficult," the committee said in a statement. "We now ask that the union work with us, instead of against us, to bring a speedy and successful conclusion to these negotiations."

Where do you stand on the issue? Share your opinion in the comments.
Danny March 27, 2014 at 07:43 AM
As the parent of an AB High School student, I support the right of an Acton-Boxborough teacher to express his or her first amendment right by wearing a union button in class. As part of creating a school community where all members feel supportive or safe, school community members, whether they be students, teachers, administrators or janitors should feel free to speak out in a non disruptive way in instances where they feel disrespected by other members of the community. This free exchange of ideas is part of a democratic education and how we create community. It is a teachable moment.
Allen Nitschelm March 27, 2014 at 07:50 AM
They have the right to do it, it is just unprofessional. Children do not vote, so who is this message being sent to? Administrators? School Committee members? Parents? Union tactics are like bullying...they rely on intimidation and the power of a large group to pressure others into doing their bidding. What's next? Are the teachers going to go door-to-door to solicit support from voters? They have that right too. But that's not how private negotiations are usually done.
ActonGuy March 27, 2014 at 07:57 AM
There's free speech and there's appropriate professional behavior for educators. Yes, safe environment, yes, free exchange of ideas, yes - all the politically correct stuff. We are talking about teachers using their position to push their own political agenda - which has nothing to do with the subject matter they are teaching. This is manipulation and indoctrination of children by authority figures that they look to for guidance. When teachers start wearing pro- or con- abortion buttons, will you have an opinion? Pro- or con- ObamaCare? Pro- or con- same-sex marriage? This is *not* a teachable moment, it's a sad comment on just how far off the tracks we have gone. Our schools reflect the larger society and the blatent manipulation of children to gain an advantage in a financial negotiation doesn't sound like free speech or open exchange of ideas to me - it sounds like what our moral values are 100% against.
ActonGuy March 27, 2014 at 08:03 AM
Allen - Exactly. Thanks for clarifying. The teachers have the *legal* right to do it. We need to understand how what's legal isn't always what's right. Most professions have written or unwritten codes of conduct - what is and is not appropriate for them to engage in. Certainly lawyers have very strict standards - if teachers had similar standards we would not be having this discussion.
Charlie Kadlec March 27, 2014 at 09:33 AM
Danny -- teachers promoting their side of adversarial negotiations to a captive audience of students is not a free exchange of ideas. Charlie Kadlec Acton


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