Massachusetts Teachers’ Union Fundraises on GoFundMe to Pay $300K in Illegal Strike Fines

The Woburn Teachers Association in Massachusetts, a local affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), has created a GoFundMe page to solicit cash in order to pay about $300,000 in fines with which it was penalized following an illegal week-long strike beginning January 30.

“Any help would be immensely appreciated!!” the Woburn Teachers Association [WTA] tweeted Tuesday, providing a link to its GoFundMe page. “We have some fines to pay and unfortunately the (bake) sale couldn’t cover it all!!”

“Thank you to all who contributed to the Woburn Teachers Association strike fund,” reads an “update” on the union’s crowdfunding site. “Although they have settled their contract, we are continuing to ask for your contributions in support of WTA.”

WTA added:

Members of the Woburn Teachers Association voted overwhelmingly to strike on Monday, January 30 if the Mayor and school committee continue [to] reject common sense proposals for a living wage for paraprofessionals, smaller class sizes, physical education for elementary students, and just compensation for all educators. Support these courageous educators, fighting for the students and the schools the Woburn community deserves. All funds will go to the Woburn Teachers Association to distribute as they see fit.

“Thank you to all who have contributed,” WTA said. “Since the Mayor and school committee continue to drag their feet, we continue to ask for your support.”

The fundraiser had a goal of $55,000, and reached about $50,040, with 785 donations as of Friday evening.

A picket line bake sale with a goal of $250,000 did not achieve its goal.

According to a news report Wednesday in the Boston Herald, strikes are outlawed for public sector unions in Massachusetts. Thus, the union had to pay $85,000 in fines to the state, in addition to $225,000 to the city over four years, to cover damages. Finally, WTA owes $20,000 to local charities.

“Their illegal strike is not going to be used as a bargaining chip, and they’re not going to use it to hijack negotiations,” nonpartisan Woburn Mayor Scott Galvin said, according to a Fox News report Thursday. “The kids are going to be inconvenienced, the parents are going to be inconvenienced, and for the teachers to say they have no other options, it’s outrageous.”

However, Fox News noted the union was ultimately able to obtain raises for teachers and paraprofessionals in the wake of the strike.

The new contract states teachers in Woburn will receive a 13.75 percent raise over the next four years, and paraprofessionals will receive a 40 percent raise.

The state teachers’ union also announced it will assist with WTA’s fines.

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Wobern Strike” by Barbara Madeloni.


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