Brothers and Sisters,

You have received a communication from us regarding the plan for this year. We will work to the letter of the contract. We will wear red on Mondays. We will walk into school together, and walk out together. We will only stay after school if there is compensation. (Compensation consists of money/stipend or professional development, as has been the long-standing definition.) This is a proven method to bring more clarity to what we do and what we have to do it with. It is often more difficult for us than for anybody else in this type of movement, but its effect is big. I also understand that your conscience may tell you to do otherwise, but this movement is about our strength and our unity. I think any educator would feel this way. Please see your building representative about the new plan coming out this week. The phone message has changed.

The argument is that this is supposed to be about the students. Yes, I do feel that is an accurate statement, but isn’t it about us too? Aren’t we just as important in education as the students? Isn’t it about time we say it is about us too? We are educators who have families, pets, and community activities like the rest of the community. We need to be able to support our lives, along with supporting the lives of our students and their families. You all know a teacher who is on the steps in our salary schedule. Do you realize that this will be the 4th time in 6 years they have had their steps frozen? They will have to teach 19 years in Manchester to reach the top of the scale. They will have lost upwards of $155,000 in salary by then, not including the loss from interest that could have been gained. They will have lost being on the top step for three years prior to retiring, making their retirement lower than those already at the top step. We are fighting for those taking the place of those who are ready to retire in the next 10 years. We are fighting for their lives and their careers, their rights and working conditions. We are fighting for the veteran teachers who have committed to this community every resource they have to educate the children. These are people who have given their small increments for those on the steps multiple times. These educators have the wisdom of their years that they impart to the early educators – a gift that inspires them to create a career of educating. We are fighting for educators to have the respect they deserve. This is not negative- what is negative is the way educators will be treated later, and making your family suffer. Our campaign is a positive one. We want to give the public a true idea about who is helping their child become a productive adult.

We are excited to welcome 50+ educators to the Manchester family. Please be sure to reach out to them and lend some support. Keep them informed of what we are doing and why.

Reach out to your city representatives – the Board of School Committee and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Reach out to your neighbors and friends in the city and ask them to attend the Board meetings.

Reach out to us. Stop the rumor mill in its tracks. I have heard some pretty crazy things lately, that if the person had asked me directly I would have given them the correct answer and relieved some stress that was completely unnecessary. (No, none of the officers have had a raise, and no, there have been no secret meetings at schools.) Going after each other from within is caustic. Let’s not add stress to ourselves about things for which we can find answers easily.

 

In Solidarity,

Sue