The Harvard Teachers Association needs to clarify a point made by School Committee Chair SusanMary Redinger in the Press last week.
In response to an HTA statement, Ms. Redinger was quoted as saying, “Mediation will actually allow us to reach an agreement faster and more amicably than if we took a traditional bargaining approach.”
The HTA would like to clarify that we were not proposing a return to traditional bargaining in lieu of working with a state mediator. We were, as the Press article had correctly reported, urging the School Committee to “ratify the contract it had worked out with the Harvard Teachers Association a year ago.” Not only is this the fastest and most amicable approach, it is also the fairest.
The HTA maintains that we already have an agreed-upon contract in place, one that was ratified by educators last March. The School Committee was set to ratify the three-year agreement as well.
But, with so much financial uncertainty last spring, the HTA agreed to the School Committee’s request to pause the contract and implement just the first year of the contract.
To be clear, the HTA never agreed to scrap the work that went into negotiating years two and three of the contract. And there is no need to make that extraordinary step.
Harvard is receiving nearly $2 million in federal relief funds and almost $500,000 more for just school expenses, all of it to mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic.
The HTA is prepared to reaffirm its ratification vote on the full three-year contract bargained in 2020. Educators are urging the School Committee to likewise honor its agreement and fairly treat those who have worked tirelessly and successfully through the pandemic to meet the needs of students and the community.
Kathleen Doherty, Bromfield social studies teacher and department leader
Lisa Hopkins, Hildreth grade 1 teacher
Kristen Vanderveen, Bromfield chemistry teacher
Debby Walker, Harvard resident and Hildreth grade 5 teacher
on behalf of the Harvard Teachers Association