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Teachers Union Seeks Personal Info on School Committee, Urges 'Stress' Attack

The Framingham Teachers Association in an email outlined plans for "stress" attack on the School Committee, which will include finding personal information about children and spouses.

The Framingham Teachers Association sent an email to its members this week indicating a planned "stress" attack on the Framingham School Committee members.

"We, as an Association, have been through a lot in the past year: rallies, pickets, school committee meetings, etc. Over the course of the past few months, we have taken up different work actions that illustrate all that we do for our students, our schools and our community. The parents have heard our message loud and clear and they have offered support by speaking at school committee meetings, emailing school committee members and engaging in debates with some of the less informed members of the community. As all of this is going on, the school committee has been distancing themselves from the issues trying to stay protected. This cannot happen anymore. We must change our approach to focus directly on those individuals that are responsible for settling the contract, the school committee," wrote Framingham Teachers Association President Sam Miskin in an email sent Monday to the Association members.

"Many of us have felt some degree of stress in coming to work due to the contract struggles and it is not right that the committee put this on us. For all of the stress we have felt, we owe it to the committee to return the favor. It is time that we start focusing our actions specifically on the members of the Framingham school committee. They need to feel the same level of stress that we have been for the past year," wrote Miskin, who is a Framingham High School teacher and Framingham resident. "The actions that the Association will engage in after Wednesday will be a different approach. The focus will now be on making the committee feel the same stresses that we have."

Attached to the email was a survey for members of the Association to fill out to get personal information about the School Committee—where they work, where the spouses work, names and ages of their children, the School Committee member's place of worship, etc. 

"I need any/all information you know about each of the school committee members. Having as much information as possible about their lives, activities, and daily routines is crucial to design actions that will truly impact them," wrote Miskin to the Association members.

To view the survey, click here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1S_feIWMktKTmDUC7MbUIKtmxMwsuRkOSZl8hhFPmGxU/viewform

School Committee Chairman David Miles said he is aware of the email and that all of the School Committee members are aware of it, too. (Editor's Note: School Committee policy only allows for the chairman to speak for the Committee.)

Miles said this is not the first time the Association has turned its attention to School Committee members. He said a handful of years ago, the Association picketed outside his home. He was not home at the time but his wife and children, who were and still are a part of the Framingham Public Schools, were home.

Miles said the Association can picket in front of his house, but he did think asking about his place of worship, his children and his specific day-to-day activities was more than what had been done before. If the Association pickets in front of his house, Miles said he would not call Police. 

All of the School Committee members except Michael Bower have children, and five of the seven School Committee members, currently have children in the Framingham Public Schools.

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The Association has held public protests and rallys since June of 2012. They have become more frequent since December 2012.

The Framingham Teachers Association has been without a contract since August. They are seeking a new contract and want three key items:

  • Limits on Class Sizes
  • A Well-Defined Work Day
  • Fair Cost of Living Adjustment

There are

Framingham Superintendent of Schools Stacy Scott said his fiscal year 2014 budget will address and fix the issue at Cameron Middle School.

Money for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) has already been set aside for the Association.

JRR March 09, 2013 at 05:33 PM
Very Concerned: Just wondering if you know about health insurance benefits for all employed by Framingham - last time I heard the town paid 87%, employee 13%. Is the breakdown the same for all or does each union negotiate their benefit package?
Concerned Framingham Parent March 09, 2013 at 05:56 PM
@Teacher Girl, I understand the point you are trying to make. But I'm not sure you are accurate in talking about the "average" 9-5 job. For example, just because someone is required to be in the office from 9-5 doesn't automatically mean the only "work" 35 hours. Many people don't get that one hour lunch each day, often just 30 minutes or less and even then, lunch is often eaten at your desk while continuing to work. On top of that, in order to be ready to begin the official day right at 9, many people get to the office early to retrieve voice mail messages or read emails that have come in overnight. Often, there are meetings in the evening, so dinner may also be eaten at the desk while doing last minute preparation for that meeting. Just because someone isn't at the office also does not mean they aren't working. And with all the electronic devices which are supposed to make thing easier, many office workers are effectively on call 24-7. So, being conservative let's say our worker gets to the office at 8:30, leaves the office for 30 minute lunch every day, This person has an average of one meeting outside work hours that lasts about two hours, and takes home 45 minutes of work each day. [continued]
Concerned Framingham Parent March 09, 2013 at 06:00 PM
[continued] 8 hours/day x 5 days/week = 40 hours 1 two hour meeting after work /week = 2 hours (and how many meetings last only 2 hours??) 45 minutes work brought home x 5 days = 3.75 hours Total per week = 45.75 hours/week So, in 38 weeks, that's 1,738 hours. Yup. That's less than your example teacher. Now, during the 12 more weeks of the year that our office worker, who gets a 2-week vacation works, they log 12 x 45.75 hours = 549 hours bringing the annual total to 2,287 hours. I know that most teachers do use summer vacation to prepare for the next school year. To equal our hypothetical office worker, your example teacher would have to do 36+ hours/week all summer and during the 3 weeks off during the school year. Pretty sure there aren't too many people in ANY profession who would put in 36 hours every week while on vacation from their full-time job. Not criticizing or saying one is better than the other, not demanding anyone resign or not get paid or get benefits. ........just pointing out the OTHER side of the equation.
Very Concerned March 09, 2013 at 07:04 PM
The town negotiated in 2012 a memorandum of understanding with the Public Employee Coalition (which is representatives from each union) for the following: Network Blue NE V.3 plan or any HMO; Town - 84%; Employee - 16% BlueCare Elect HCCS or PPO; Town - 75%; Employee - 25% Medex; Town 75%; Employee - 25% https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:02uRkvfup4cJ:framingham.massteacher.org/files/2012%2520Healthcare%2520Changes%5B1%5D.pdf+framingham+teacher+health+insurance&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjO1YLPwG7w5RYmFEmdz0fkrT_mE-lJm20GfNXL0JiKF2iUxqIa_77gbQk635ZhJv3DwY8OL5FxFsfBdFfjRmwr2oCeNI3evAT28UDc0xtWCImDjwPS8oDG4w82jNKc2aLidA0f&sig=AHIEtbQjkhr7AVSC3e-FwSETQec_5i8gyg
Phyllis Steiner March 12, 2013 at 08:48 PM
This bullying approach is nauseating - and increasingly alienating. Let's stop even thinking about stooping to such a level. However, School Committee - get crackin' and do the right thing: settle the contract; compromise within reason - to the satisfaction of our incredibly dedicated teachers! You can do this. Heck, you've done it over and over and over again!

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