Watch CBS News

Bill proposed to allow Massachusetts teachers to strike legally

Bill proposed to allow Massachusetts teachers to strike legally
Bill proposed to allow Massachusetts teachers to strike legally 01:57

BOSTON - It's illegal for teachers to strike in Massachusetts, but the state's largest teachers' union wants to change that.

The law has not stopped strikes recently in Woburn, Brookline, Malden, and Haverhill. Judges issued fines, but it wasn't enough to keep teachers off the picket lines.

"There is nothing that works more efficiently and faster in state government in Massachusetts than trying to shut down educators fighting for a fair contract by going on strike," said Max Page, president of Massachusetts Teachers Association, the state's largest teachers' union.

Page will testify at the State House Tuesday afternoon before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce to support a bill that would let teachers and certain other public employees go on strike, if at least six months of good faith bargaining with employers has failed to produce results. Public safety personnel would be exempt.

"It will force school committees, in those places where they are resistant to good bargaining, it will force them to the table sooner. Right now, there is zero punishment for school committees to simply try to wait out these educators," Page told WBZ-TV.

"I think I'd be quarterbacking the Super Bowl before teachers are given the right to strike," Glenn Koocher, who heads the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, told WBZ earlier this year. "Public employees do not have that right in Massachusetts."

Page argues the right to strike would actually lead to less teacher strikes.

"The school committee would know that the clock is ticking after the first bargaining session, and that they needed to get down to business, and they would need to respond to what the educators are saying is crucial for our schools," he said. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.