This blogging stuff is great. Within minutes of posting, I received an email from Susan Peckitt at Grafton Middle School, one of the teachers who is negotiating the contract.
Under Massachusetts law, and under our contract, we cannot strike, and “work to rule” must adhere to the Lenox ruling. We have decided to work to rule for the period between November 3 and November 25 to express our unity as a staff of teachers whose contract negotiations have been suspended and have gone to mediation. At stake are not only
issues of salary but also equally important issues of contract language concerning our status and our working conditions.
Working to rule means that we will not come in early nor stay late, beyond the contracted hours of the old contract, essentially a 7-hour day. We will use our prep periods to do whatever we can to prepare for our classes and fulfill the tasks our administrators require of us. We will teach our classes, and we will assess their learning as we always have. We will fulfill our contractual obligations, including serving as coaches and advisors in stipend positions. What we won’t do is volunteer to do extra duties that are not in our contract. We won’t have access to the resources of the school buildings outside of the contracted working day.
Working to rule should demonstrate to the community and to the administration how much more teachers do than they are required to do, and how much the social fabric of the town depends on the voluntary tasks teachers take on. Grafton teachers work a longer year and are paid significantly less than teachers in surrounding towns. We work in overcrowded buildings with inadequate resources, and our workload has increased considerably because of the reduction in force, the increased demands of community connection, and the increase in student population. We have been hard pressed for years.