‘We had no other choice but to do this’: Andover teacher strike stretches into Sunday

The Andover teacher’s strike stretched late Saturday night after two days of negotiating.

Although a union rep said Saturday night that some progress was made, the Andover Education Association says they are still looking to bridge a gap with the school committee.

“We’ve been doing this since January and the reality of it is after 28 bargaining sessions, there has been little to no movement from the other side in any sort of meaningful way,” said Vice President of the Andover Education Association and 8th-grade history teacher Julian DiGloria. “N teacher wants to do this. No teacher wants to be out here, we want to be in school with our kids, but the reality is that the school committee is so far away from giving us fair proposals, that we thought that we had no other choice but to do this.”

Negotiations resumed Saturday at 10 a.m. after school was canceled Friday during day one of the strike.

Although the union says the committee has agreed to terms like extended recess periods, money remains a sticking point. The union wants to see a 16% raise for all educators across the board.

Throughout the day on Saturday and into early Sunday morning, the School Committee heard and answered the AEA’s identified priorities and offered proposals aimed at meeting those specific requests, which included:

  • A cost of living adjustment for all teachers of 14% over four years, 3.5% per year.

  • A cost of living adjustment for all instructional assistants of 23.4% over four years, which includes 5% per year, market adjustments, step eliminations, and a 2% differential for hard-to-fill positions.

  • Accepting the AEA’s proposal to establish district-paid parental leave of eight weeks, with an additional four weeks of paid leave coming from accrued sick time, totaling 12 weeks.

  • Accepting the AEA’s proposal to allow the use of up to 60 paid sick days during leave to care for a seriously ill family member.

The union has posted their arguments and a list of their past proposals on a website for the public to read.

“We have nothing to hide,” DiGloria said. “It’s clear, and I think the community understands that we are doing this because it is in the best interest of kids and schools.”

“The School Committee remains committed to negotiating in good faith and looks forward to the AEA’s response to its proposal,” a spokesperson for the school committee said in a statement. “In the meantime, we once again call on the AEA to end this illegal strike so we can bring our students back to the classroom.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW