After a full school week on the picket line, teachers are going back to the classroom on Monday in Woburn, Massachusetts, after a deal was reached Sunday between school and city officials and educators.
It was a strange week for students, who didn't go to class for five days.
“It gave me anxiety because it kind of threw me back to freshman year when we weren’t in school for a while,” said Woburn senior Aaliyah Miller, referring to when school shut down during the pandemic.
For parents, it was even more complicated – with late night school cancellations, and a scramble to find childcare or balance work with kids home.
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“It was a tough week, but it was worth it to know that they were going to be back, and they got what they wanted, so it was worth it keeping them home, our teachers mean everything,” said Woburn parent Miranda Murphy.
Both sides had essentially hammered out a deal on Friday, but the sticking point over the weekend was the ‘return to work’ agreement.
After five hours of negotiation on Sunday, both sides finally announced they had reached a deal and signed a memorandum of understanding on a contract for both teachers and paraprofessionals.
“We claim victory for a fair contract, and we claim victory for a unified community, one of transparency, integrity and decency," Woburn Teachers Association Barbara Locke said.
The deal means students go back to school Monday – after a full week without classes while the union members were on strike.
“Had a really hard week," Ellen Crowley of the Woburn School Committee said Sunday. "This community has a lot of healing to do and we believe this is a very good first step in that direction, and we’re just really excited for kids that they get to go to bed tonight knowing they’re going to see their teachers tomorrow.”
Details on the Deal Reached
Here's what we know about the deal that has been reached in Woburn.
The teachers will get a 13.75% salary increase, spread out over a four-year contract. Paraprofessionals, meanwhile, got a 40% raise.
As part of the deal, the union also agreed to pay for the cost of the week-long strike, which amounts to $225,000 over the next four years, along with a $20,000 donation to charity.
The Massachusetts Teachers Authority said it will help pay those costs, in addition to the fines for being on strike.
As part of the ‘return to work’ agreement, the teachers will face no disciplinary action for going out on strike.