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Haverhill, Malden educators rally ahead of threatened teachers strike Monday

Haverhill, Malden educators rally ahead of threatened teachers strike Monday
Haverhill, Malden educators rally ahead of threatened teachers strike Monday 02:26

By: Jordyn Jagolinzer

MALDEN - Educators rallied in Haverhill and Malden on Saturday to push for fairer contracts that they say would allow for better student interactions. 

The Haverhill Teachers Negotiating Subcommittee met with the Haverhill Education Association, the Malden Teachers Association, and a mediator for seven hours in hopes of preventing a strike. No agreement was reached. They will continue negotiations on Sunday at 10 a.m. 

If contract negotiations are not met, teachers will strike on Monday. 

The two unions for the districts say Haverhill and Malden are failing to meet the needs of students.

"Every child everywhere deserves a world-class education. Not just kids in wealthy suburbs," said Deb Gesualdo, President of the Malden Education Association.

Malden Mayor Gary Christenson responded in a statement to WBZ-TV saying:

"Contrary to reports that the School Committee has not responded to proposals, the Negotiations Subcommittee has been and will continue to negotiate in good faith until we reach agreement on a contract that is fair to our employees, is in line with the economic realities facing the City and meets the needs of our students and families."

In response to his statement, Gesualdo said, "We do not take the decision to authorize a strike vote lightly. We do not take that decision lightly. We want to be in the classrooms with out students. We want our students to have the best learning environment they can have."

Jessica Wender-Shubow, the President of the Brookline Educators Union, went through a similar situation in May. She was in attendance to show her support after teachers in Brookline went on strike in the spring. 

"In this community, in this state, it's hard to say this place is too poor to have great schools," said Wender-Shubow. 

It is considered unlawful for public-sector workers to strike in Massachusetts, which is something Massachusetts State Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven disagrees with. 

"Restoring the right to strike is foundational," Uyterhoeven said.

In a statement, the subcommittee tells WBZ-TV in part, "We are truly disappointed with the union's seeming disinterest in serious negotiations."

If a fair agreement is not met, teachers will strike on Monday and there will be no school. 

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