Woburn Schools Remain Closed Friday as Teacher Strike Continues

Negotiations have been scheduled to resume on Thursday morning

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Schools in Woburn, Massachusetts, will remain closed for a fifth day Friday as a teacher strike in the city continues for another day, city officials said Thursday night.

A major point of contention amid the contract negotiations has been pay, but now, the union will be facing fines if the strike keeps going.



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A judge has officially ordered the union to pay $40,000 for remaining on strike Thursday– and $5,000 for each additional day they remain out of the classroom. However, the president of the Woburn Teachers Association has said all along the union is prepared to pay fines if it comes to it.

Negotiations will resume Friday morning. The union and city officials struck a tone of optimism that a deal could be near.

"We had the most productive day yet. Significant gains were made, and we are optimistic that we may reach an agreement tomorrow, along with our return to work agreement," said Barbara Locke, president of the Woburn Teachers Association.

"We're working on our proposals, and we're bargaining in good faith and we're hoping to reach a deal tomorrow," Mayor Scott Galvin said.

We take a look at what's behind the growing trend of teacher strikes in Massachusetts.

As hundreds in the community rallied together on the Woburn Common on Wednesday afternoon in support of the Woburn Teachers Association’s efforts to secure new contracts for both teachers and paraprofessionals, negotiations continued between the mayor, school committee and the union’s bargaining committee.

Woburn Mayor Scott Galvin said the paraprofessionals would get about a 40% increase their first year, followed by a 16-18% raise the following year. He said teachers are now being offered a one-year deal with a 3.25% raise, followed by a three-year deal, with 10.75% over the following three years.

No deal was reached Wednesday between the Woburn Teachers Association and the city, meaning schools will remain closed for a fourth day.

The union said while they’re likely onboard with the raises for paraprofessionals, the mayor and school committee seem unwilling to budge on teacher pay.

“Here we go again," union president Barbara Locke said. "We’re here ready to bargain, schools were called off while we were still negotiating, and Mayor Galvin booked himself an hour long talk show at 8 o’clock. They do not want to come to a deal.”

Schools in Woburn were closed for a third straight day Wednesday as the teacher strike continued.

Mayor Gavin called the strike "disrespectful" to parents and taxpayers.

"We’re working hard to get this done," the mayor said. "Teachers need to get back in the classroom where they belong and stop breaking the law.”

Negotiations have been scheduled to resume on Thursday morning.

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