Teachers in Andover to strike over contract negotiations

This marks the latest of several teacher strikes in Massachusetts, despite a state law prohibiting public employees from striking

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Educators in Andover, Massachusetts, have voted to strike starting Friday after months of contract negotiations have failed to lead to an agreement, the union said Thursday.

The members of the Andover Education Association voted in favor of the strike Thursday afternoon. According to the union, they have been trying to reach a new contract agreement for nine months, meeting with the Andover School Committee 28 times.



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Union officials said their key issues are wages, more educator prep time, longer lunch breaks and recess for younger students, access to paid family and medical leave and more educator input in curriculum decisions.

“Andover can easily afford our salary proposals. The town is receiving more than $1 million in additional state aid and has ample cash reserves. The School Committee’s willingness to spend millions of dollars on plans for a new high school is indicative of misplaced priorities; we urge the committee to invest in the people responsible for the quality of education provided in Andover Public Schools," the union said in a statement.

This marks the latest of several teacher strikes in Massachusetts, despite a state law prohibiting public employees from striking. Teacher unions face large fines if they walk off the job. Other districts that recently went on strike include Malden, Haverhill and Woburn.

Andover School Committee Chair Tracey Spruce also released a statement Thursday, saying they have bargained in good faith and are disappointed in the strike vote.

"We want to make it clear that the School Committee does not condone the illegal actions of the AEA. We will work with the Department of Labor Relations to minimize the disruption to our students’ education. We urge all teachers and staff to return to school. We urge the AEA to end their illegal strike and return to the bargaining table," the statement continued.

Schools will be closed while the teachers strike, though athletics and theater rehearsals may continue. Box breakfasts and lunches will be available for students to pick up at Bancroft Elementary School.

The union said they will rally on the Town Common on Chestnut Street at noon on Friday.

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