VICTORY TO THE QUINCY, MASSACHUSETTS TEACHERS
I must apologize at the outset for not having posted a solidarity statement with the Quincy, Massachusetts Education Association (QEA) before today, June 11, 2007, the second day of their walkout. This is doubly egregious as I was born in Quincy-the City of Presidents (John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams). The Quincy teachers walked out on Friday June 8, 2007 after taking a vote. From the news that I had heard I believed that their action was a one day affair, a fairly familiar way to deal with stalled contract negotiations. However these brothers and sisters are for real and seem determined to make their point and get a just contract. This in the face of a state Labor Relations Board decision that their walkout is illegal and the determination of the Quincy School Committee to seek a court injunction to force the teachers back to work.
The major issue, and a recurring stumbling block to many of today’s labor contracts, is health benefits. That is the surface issue at least but the reality is wages. The favorite ploy for the government (and private employers, as well) is to grant some seemingly reasonable wage increase and then off-set it with an increase in employee contributions to their health insurance plans. The net effect is that over the life of a contract the teachers will either stand still or go backwards in their real standards of living. Make no mistake this is an important fight and is being watched by teachers unions (and school committees) throughout the state of Massachusetts where this same issue is in dispute in many contract negotiations. Let us be clear-teachers do not make nearly enough in comparison with other highly skill professions. In a just world teachers, the transmitters of learning and culture to the young generations, would be held in higher esteem and compensated accordingly. And would have much more say in educational decisions, along with parents, students and other school employees. However until that day-Victory to the Quincy, Massachusetts School Teachers