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UPDATED: Framingham Teachers Picketing in Freezing Temperatures

On one of the coldest days of the year, members of the Framingham Teachers Association plan to picket in front of Barbieri Elementary, Cameron Middle, Dunning Elementary and Framingham High School Thursday morning.

Editor's Note: Updated with photo at 7:31 a.m. Patch has more photos in a slideshow here.

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On one of the coldest days of the year, members of the Framingham Teachers Association plan to picket in front of Barbieri Elementary, Cameron Middle, Dunning Elementary and Framingham High School Thursday morning, Jan. 24 before school.

The Association has been without a contract since August 31 and has been very public with its unhappiness with administration and the School Committee. The teachers negotiated a one-year contract the year before.

Administration and members of the Framingham Teachers Association are scheduled to meet with a mediator today, said Association President Sam Miskin, a high school teacher.

That cancelled session led to a union vote, that left some high school students without extra help afterschool just before mid-term exams. High School students are taking mid-term exams this week.

Tuesday night at the School Committee meeting, Superintendent of Schools Stacy Scott said he remains "optimistic" that a contract can be reached soon.

"Teachers are still on the job and doing their work," said Scott. "Hopefully, we will get a settlement as soon as possible."

I

This was the second time in six months the union brought a large number of its

Negotiations are typically held behind closed doors.

Some after-school clubs at the elementary and high school level have been cancelled, too.

Some member of the teachers' union picketed at Cameron Middle School Wednesday, said Miskin.

Last week Cameron Middle teachers met with their union and after the meeting Principal Judith Kelly sent this email to parent "...teachers met with their union representatives. I was not privy to this meeting but the outcome was that the teachers will no longer help students during lunch periods. As you know almost all our teachers have been offering extra help five days a week during their own lunch periods for students to be re-taught information or to get individual assistance with homework and difficult curriculum. This will no longer be the case. They are in the midst of negotiating a contract, as many of you know. Until a contract has been settled they will not assist students during their lunch periods. I wanted to make you aware of this new development. We all hope for a speedy negotiation."

Brad Evans January 24, 2013 at 01:18 PM
Wow.. Nothing like showing how dedicated you are to your students by leaving them in the lurch. I would think that if they wanted to so how dedicated they are they would not use our kids as pawns and show that they can step above this and continue to work. Despite numerous requests, Mr. Miskin still refuses to divulge any specifics about the numbers of teachers who received salary increases last year and what the percentage was. He also continues to take credit for changes for health care costs while refusing to acknowledge that Framingham pays far greater a percentage for employee health than nearly every other city/town in Massachusetts and refuses to acknowledge that health care and salary have to, by law, be negotiated separately in Framingham. The SC can't even talk health insurance during negotiations or the union would quickly accuse them of unfair bargaining (as they have in the past) but yet the union can? You can't have it both ways. Lets start the transparency now and let the honesty begin.
Chipsofacto January 24, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Sign the petition to get creation of a town charter on the spring ballot.
annemarie kreybig January 24, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Unions are very necessary however, extreme weather makes this a bad "timing" choice!!
Andrea Dunne Adrian January 24, 2013 at 05:06 PM
I love Brad's first 2 sentences... why leave the students in the lurch and use them as pawns? I think that's what most parents want to understand. I don't see how picking four schools (not all of the schools?) proves a point? What IS the point of standing outside in the freezing cold? The teachers want a contract? We know. The more the teachers' union makes the kids suffer, the less support they get from the parents. It's called negotiation, not demand.
flyermom January 24, 2013 at 05:44 PM
This morning was by far the a joke. A bunch of teachers that should be getting students set up in their classes for the morning. Instead, freezing faces, with smerks on them as they waved to us when we drove by. I was pretty angry with them. They are leaving the students to fend for themselves at all costs. You are right B.E. with Framingham getting paid the highest amount for teachers in mass. Theres private companies out there, people who have been working just like them who can't get a raise. Some may not even make the amount of money that they do but do we hear them like this. I will not support teachers who act like this and treat students like this when they are suppose be teaching them not acting like spoiled children. Its time to let it go, the school committee can only do what the budget will allow. If they give you more what do they take from he kids?
jen January 24, 2013 at 06:23 PM
For all of you that are commenting on the fact that teacher's "left their students", please make certain that you are informed before making accusations. Teachers DID NOT leave their students this morning, the picketing took place before school was officially in session. As a parent, I completely support the teachers in this town. They are hard-working, dedicated people. Many teachers have their own children enrolled in the district. The fact that many teachers chose to live in Framingham shows how dedicated and invested they are, not only in education, but also the town. Many comment about the greediness of teachers, and I ask you, have you ever been an educator? Do you know what an educator does in order to become a teacher? Would you ever treat your child's physician or your attorney in the same fashion that you are treating the educators that give you children not only, the skills to help them succeed academically, but also, become socially aware, educators that build relationships with your children, and educators who at times put your children before their own families? Probably not. Being an educator is probably not as easy as one might think. If being an educator is such an easy profession filled with bunch of people that whine all the time, then why doesn't everyone become an educator? People we must learn to critically think before making judgements and critizing those that are helping to mold our future.
flyermom January 24, 2013 at 08:29 PM
I'm not making accusation's, its facts. Teachers that should have been in class already for mid terms were standing out there. It was a few minutes late due to traffic getting my child to school. So unless you were there, you shouldn't say a thing. We are grateful for all the teachers that our kids have had over the years and all they have taught them. We have thanked them time and time again. We could never ever thank them enough. Acting like this and teaching our kids to act this way is wrong. My daughter had to sit in a class and listen to a teacher explain why they are going after what they are. She is 13 years old and does not need to worry about this. Her response to it was pretty simple " Times are tough for all Mom, and the school system can only apply money to number of programs. If they give the teachers a bigger raise now, What are they going to cut from our students or classes now? or what school are they going to have to close?" Why would a child have to even think about that? Are our teachers in Framingham so much above all the other towns that we have all level 1 schools? Do they warrant what they are asking? Look at the schools and status of all and then ask. Should they be awarded what they want because they all aren't showing it...If they were then maybe they should get my support but for now. I think not. On another note, if we all became educators. The world would be boring and no building, banking or goverment.
Derek from Framingham January 24, 2013 at 09:54 PM
Jen - the simple matter of the fact is that the private sector (which is what pays for the public sector) has been taking some very serious hits (either no pay increase, pay decreases, more hours (with no pay), more expensive benefits or benefits being stripped away, ... ) The list goes on and on. The public sector just doesn't seem to get this. There should be a freeze on all salaries until the economy improves - if an employee doesn't like it then they can go find another job - its pretty much guaranteed there's a bunch of people waiting in the wings to take the job. This is not to say the teachers aren't valued. And truthfully, they are still pretty darn lucky compared to many of their private sector counter-parts.
jen January 24, 2013 at 10:58 PM
M B I was also there, dropping my off my son. He attends FHS. He had his Physics midterm today and his teacher who was picketing was in the classroom by the time midterms began. Midterms begin at 7:30 a.m. Again I say, know the facts before making an assumption. As far as your comment about schools in sorrounding towns; they do in fact have level 1 schools, ask yourself why? Those towns are completely supportive of the school system and give teachers resources they need to run a level 1 school. For example, Hopkinton parents are currently asking their sc for smaller class sizes and other towns have adjusted COLA. One could argue that residents in those towns value education in a way that some Framingham residents clearly don't. I guess it shows the ignorance of those living in our town who don't seem to care for the education of our children. Education is so important and that's we're all those "W" towns and Framingham differ, all residents in those towns truly value their children's education, where as in this town, only some value their children's education, and that is so sad.
Walt Magee January 25, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Where do I sign.
Walt Magee January 25, 2013 at 01:05 AM
The teachers say it's all about the students well it's really about the contract. Framinham teachers have one of the sweetest deal in the state when you fiqure in their healthcare plan. Most districts pay 75% teachers pay the rest. No dental. Framingham teachers only pay 15% with dental and town picks up the rest.That's like adding $1,500 a month to their salary. This is a time for everyone including the town, state and federal government to be tightening their belts not looking for more.
Walt Magee January 25, 2013 at 01:13 AM
They have way out lived their usefulness. They are now an empediment to fiscally sound salarys. That's why only 15% of the WORKERS in this country are unionized. In government employment workers are forced to join a union weather they wish to or not. And a large part of their dues are used to support the Democratic Party.
Brad Evans January 25, 2013 at 01:18 PM
So Jen - when Hopkinton provides the smaller class sizes (and their contract has no class size language just the typical "The Committee and the Association recognize that class size is an important factor in good education and will, whenever possible, subject to space availability and other educational considerations, insure that class size is of the most effective nature for both teacher and pupil. However, the final decision as to class size will be made by the Committee in the best interest of all."), see how they will pay for it. Class size reduction is a politically correct way of asking to hire more teachers and build more classrooms since class size is a direct result of the numbers of teachers, students and available classrooms. I have two children in the FPS system and I will NOT support any effort to reduce class size that results in a tax increase or an override. If the schools can reduce class size with the existing budgetary constraints, I'm all for it. And while midterms begin at 7:30, homeroom begins at 7;15 and teachers should be in the classroom at the time - heck, someone has to turn on the tv so the kids can watch Flyer News...
jayne swerson January 25, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Every parent wants great teachers- few parents want to pay for them. Unless you live in sudbury, concord,hopkington etc.! keb
Brad Evans January 26, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Actually, I believe that Framingham already pays for great teachers. The overall compensation, when you look at the entire package - including benefits - Framingham is right up there in compensation with our neighbors.
jen January 26, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Brad...you're so right homeroom begins at 7:15, except during midterms and finals; during these examinations THERE IS NO homeroom. Students must be in the classroom by 7:30. And your right teachers have to turn on Flyer news because so many children have such a sense of entitlement and are so lazy that they would not dare do it themselves. But then again I guess this depends on the parenting children receive. I mean your children would never act in such a way, right?
Susan Petroni (Editor) January 26, 2013 at 02:21 AM
This will be my ONLY warning - do not attack other people who post. Those who continue to violate the Patch policy will be blocked from commenting. Stick to the topic of the report and only comment on the issues. Thanks in advance!
Andrea Dunne Adrian January 27, 2013 at 12:51 AM
Father of 3 - this will be the only time I respond to you, as it is my own policy not to respond to people who hide behind fake screen names. I'll give you a couple examples: teachers at Hemenway cancelling elementary school kids' math club, anda high school teacher who refuses to stay for 15 minutes of extra help, for an honors student worried about mid-terms....etc. My son (and I) have loved all of his teachers and we are very, very appreciative (and have told and shown them often). I just don't think punishing the kids is the right way to go about getting this done. http://framingham.patch.com/articles/superintendent-mediator-s-illness-cancels-contract-negotiations
Ryan Seavey January 27, 2013 at 04:18 PM
It's actually patch policy that you are required to use your real name. Not choice.
Stacy January 27, 2013 at 06:17 PM
Why don't the Framingham teachers just work until the job is done like all other salary employees? If they want to punch a time clock go work at Walmart. They continue to complain about everything. Cola raises give me a break. Take the summer off ( oh right you already have that plus at least 3 more weeks vacation). But you are over worked and nobody cares how hard you work. When I see every kid in Framingham getting all A's then I will support you. This is the problem with unions...the teachers who have been there the longest get paid the highest and work the least. The new, fresh teachers who want to make a difference are always there trying new things while the teachers that have been there years are just going through the motions...I hate to say it but job security should not be guaranteed here in just like every other job in this country. The teachers should go to work with the assumption that if they are bad at what they do their job will be given to the next person in line not be able to sit back and know because of the union they don't have to work hard and get better on a daily basis. I am happy the school committee is finally standing up to the union. You have my support.
Brad Evans January 28, 2013 at 03:41 PM
so the signs were out again today at the HS... I dropped off at 7:13... So all the teachers who were outside weren't in their classrooms at 7;15 - So I guess its on like Donkey Kong....Stacy - you are so correct about the teachers. Those who stand to benefit the most from this contract are those that have been their the least - lets remember not a dime of the COLA, step or lane increases are at all related to performance in the classroom. Perhaps the FTA would agree to these items, with the COLA subject to performance review. What a concept.. get a raise for performing your job better than expected, a decrease or no increase if you dont.....
Stacy January 28, 2013 at 05:21 PM
I am shocked that the parents of Framingham are not more outraged with the teachers of Framingham. Yes, we all understand they want a new contract. Why does that mean a different contract then last year? I honestly feel some of these teachers should be happy to just get a contract. Let’s just think about this a little more. How many other private sector workers are happy they have a job right now? Are they upset they are not getting a raise? Sure I am, but I am also happy that I am working (yes probably 80 hours a week) and that I am getting a paycheck at all. I am upset that these kids are being subjected to listening to all these teachers complain on a daily basis. If I went into work and whined to everyone I would be let go allowing the next person in line to get my job.
Stacy January 28, 2013 at 05:22 PM
Father of 3…lets talk about a few things…in the big picture what exactly is 30 minutes? How many times have other types of employees had to stay after work 30 minutes? Maybe 60 minutes? I’m sure 30 minutes is a small price to pay so that child or children understand the homework a little better but then again it’s not really about the children is it? Your wife probably gets paid about $70-$80 grand a year for about 9 months worth of work whether that is a 40 hour work week or 60. (Most others work about 70 hours nowadays in this country) She also gets her summers off and all school vacations so that your children don’t have to be put into fulltime daycare of camp. A big savings I’m sure. And let’s not forget benefits… You are probably getting your benefits through her employment because we all know how great her benefits are meaning now your paycheck is bigger and your benefits are great. 3 kids lucky you because again you are not paying half as much for dental or medical for those three kids because they are also covered under her insuance. So father of 3 next time you want to call a parent out use your real name and don’t hide behind your wife because really it seems you use your wife enough these days.
Brad Evans January 28, 2013 at 06:03 PM
I also think that could be a great teaching moment - to talk about the history of unions/collective bargaining etc - a great topic to talk about in HS social studies or even middle school social studies. Talk about in conjunction with reading The Jungle and other relevant topics or a discussion on Gandhi, MLK and other similar battles. Its a sad statement when my child comes home and doesn't understand the process (all they get is that the teacher has chosen to not help them any longer). Much like an election year could be a great teachable moment about the electoral process in the US (and sadly again many students don't talk about that anymore - some teachers do but many do not). Rather than all the he-said/she said, perhaps the teachers would best serve their cause if they continued to teach the way they want, and not take orders from union leadership - that would be true teaching.
Brad Evans January 28, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Oh, and Father of 3, forgive us for wanting our children to understand the material that is being taught. Isn't that the role of a teacher? Many of us parents don't understand algebra/calculus/chemistry/etc and are unable to assist our kids. I dont think its any parent thinks it an entitlement. No one has ever forced the teachers to stay and help - most do it out of the goodness of their hearts and I think in doing that, they have helped them gain a great and well-deserved reputation for excellence - they go the extra mile for students - but clearly now, as evident by the actions, it really isn't about them, its about the money.

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