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  1. 1. Boston, MA 02111 Suite 402 38 Chauncy Street AFT Massachusetts October 2011Standing Up for the FutureN ancy Sheehan’s official title is head of youth services at the Wakefield Public Library. Butthese days Sheehan is wearing anotherhat as well: union coalition member.The librarians in Wakefield have joinedforces with other municipal employeesthere, including teachers, police,firefighters and members of the localdepartment of public works, in orderto try to protect their health insurancebenefits. For the small group of librarians,the experience of working with otherunions is brand new. “We’ve neverdone anything like this before,” saysSheehan, who was recently electedchapter chair of the library union.And while the experience of working STRONGER TOGETHER Sergeant David Brown of the Wakefield Police In This Issuealongside her union brothers and Department and Wakefield librarian Nancy Sheehan. Public employees insisters has taken some getting usedto, Sheehan says she has high hopes Wakefield are working together in an effort to protect their health insurance 2 President’s Column benefits. “Working with other unions is brand new to us,” says Sheehan. Bold Printthat the coalition will continue to work a deal on their own are over,” says heard. In Lynn, the Lynn Teacherstogether after the health insuranceissue has been resolved. “This process Andrew Powell, AFT Massachusetts’ Union is preparing to host its first 4 Diary of a New Teacher: specialist on municipal health care. ever debate among school committee A new mother questionshas been really good for breaking new whether to return to the “People are figuring out pretty quickly candidates. In Amesbury, membersground.” classrom that if they can speak with one voice on of AFT Amesbury are rethinking theirOne voice these issues they’re going to be much approach to local politics, including 5 Behind the Scenes: New Wakefield is far from the only city better off.” how to have more of a say on budget field representative Walteror town where new partnerships are debates in that town. In Boston last Armstrong A new approach month, more than 2700 membersbeing formed. As public employees But coalition building isn’t thebegin to deal with the implications of only emerging trend in this political of the Boston Teachers Union participated in a telephone town hall 6 On Campus: Pension cuts a sign of the timesthe health insurance law passed on season. In a time of heated rhetoric— meeting. Meanwhile, from ChelmsfordBeacon Hill this summer, local unionsare finding that they have no choice but not to mention budgetary austerity— to Chelsea, union members are trying 7 Retiree Corner The Golden Apple teachers, librarians and other AFT MA to do a better job of getting the wordto work together. “The days when each members across the state are trying about the good work that unions do.group of employees could try to strike new strategies to make their voices Continued on page 3The “Murkland Miracle” Just how well did students at the A school improvement Murkland fare? In a single year, the portion of students scoring proficient model based or advanced in English Language Arts on teacher-led (ELA) increased by 13 percentage If you’d like to receive an reform, trust and points and in math by a staggering 20 electronic version of the percentage points. Additionally, the Advocate, send an email to collaboration Murkland’s so-called student growth advocate@aftma.net. Please percentile scores were 57 in English produces huge gains Language Arts and 80 in math, both of include your home mailing for students at a which are above the state norm of 50 address for identification. and signal that the school’s students Lowell elementary. improved their achievement at a Did you know that yourT he mood at Lowell’s Charlotte M. faster pace than their peers statewide, Murkland Elementary School is especially in math. AFT MA membership jubilant these days. Identified as Kevin Andriolo, the school’s entitles you to discountsone of the state’s lowest performing assistant principal, says that he is most proud of the surge in the on insurance products?schools just a year ago, the Murklandhas demonstrated a stunning rise in students’ growth scores. “All of us at For more information see SUCCESS STORY Governor Devalstudent achievement since then. In the Murkland believed that we were Patrick reads to students at the the special ad on page 8 going to see big gains this year butfact, the students performed so well Murkland School in Lowell. Students or visit the benefits pagethat when Governor Deval Patrick to reach a number like 80 percent is at the school made huge gains on theand Mitchell Chester, the state’s really pretty unbelievable. That just of our website: most recent MCAS test thanks tocommissioner of education, announced doesn’t happen,” says Andriolo. “This an approach to school improvement www.aftma.net/member-the 2011 MCAS results, they did so here is a real tribute to the dedication and that stresses collaboration and team benefits/at this elementary school in Lowell’s hard work by the faculty and staff at work. “We’re all in this together,”historic—and hard scrabble—Acre our school.” says Principal Jason DiCarlo.neighborhood. Continued on page 8
  2. 2. BOLD House has yet to act. Go to our website, www.aftma.net, to send a letter to your representatives opposing this bill. Early childhood PRINT Thomas J. Gosnell AFT Massachusetts and the Fond Farewell President, AFT Massachusetts Massachusetts Teachers Association are conducting a joint campaign to organize AFT Massachusetts says farewell to two early childhood workers in the early long-time staff members. Cathy Dwyer, AFT MA’s political director, and fieldAnother Challenging Year childhood centers. Early childhood workers have dreadful wages. However, representative Dianne Heeley both retired at the end of the summer. But while they may even in this miserable economy, early no longer be on staff, both plan to remainT he 2011-12 school year will be just as lively as last year. Up ahead: thenew regulations on the performance included as a factor in the evaluation of teachers. The collective bargaining law still childhood education is expanding. Both organizations believe that these workers need union representation to enable active in state and national politics. Dwyer is also active in Emerge Massachusetts, which trains women to run for office. Dwyer saysevaluation of teachers, the new health applies. Consequently, many aspects them to have better salaries and a that she’s already gearing up to get involvedinsurance law, possible revisions in the of evaluations, e.g. the use of student greater voice in the workplace and in the in the 2012 presidential contest: “As for whatpension law, the attempt to organize early growth, can be bargained. development of top flight programs for role I play we’ll have to wait and see!”childhood workers in the private sector, The law contains much more than I the children.the President’s attempt to pump more have mentioned, but these few examplesmoney into the economy, the elections give a sufficient taste of the changes. The President’s proposal Local Leadersin 2012, and the usual challenges for our The Board of Elementary and The President is finally proposing a Tis the season to welcome a new crop ofmembers in all levels of education. Let’s Secondary Education has adopted plan that asks the rich to pay a much leaders within the locals that make up AFTtake a look at each one of these issues. regulations for administrators but not more fair share of taxes. He is also Massachusetts. A warm welcome to the for any other employees in public school proposing that much more money go to following: Catherine Simpson, president,Performance evaluation systems. schools to prevent layoffs as well as to Holliston Federation of Teachers; Colleen The State Board of Elementary repair and build schools. Public education McElligott-Liporto, first vice president,and Secondary Education has adopted New health insurance law desperately needs more money. Most of Lynn Teachers Union; Joyce Kimani,regulations which are a mandate for The landscape has been profoundly the Massachusetts delegation supports president, Hathorne Teachers Federationall the cities and towns. For example, altered. If the city or town governing his plan. AFT MA will work to persuade (Essex Aggie); Debra Hindes, chapter chair, North Reading Library Staff Associationall evaluation systems must include body so chooses, it can treat health any senator or representative opposed Linda Prescott, chapter chair, Lawrencethe following and only the following insurance coverage in a manner quite to the plan to change his/her mind. You’ll Teachers Union, Nurses of Lawrenceevaluation marks: exemplary, proficient, different from the past. hear more from us. Association; Connie Motta, president, Newneeds improvement, and unsatisfactory. If it goes in this new direction, all Bedford Federation of Paraprofessionals.Those who receive either of the latter municipal unions must negotiate as one 2012 electionstwo marks must make rapid improvement unit with the city or town. This is known A big year next year. Manyor face termination proceedings. as coalition bargaining. Democrats are eager to run against The regulations do include the The municipality will have much Senator Scott Brown. Issues very Seat at the Tableuse of MCAS scores as a factor in greater authority to move employees important to AFT MA members will be Lowell teacher Kate McLaughlin hasthe evaluation of teachers but do not into the Group Insurance Commission front and center during the campaign. been named to the AFT’s program andmandate a particular percentage. AFT MA or adopt a new health insurance plan. We shall carefully review the credentials, policy council for teachers. McLaughlin,has steadfastly maintained that MCAS Under all circumstances the premium voting records, and the campaign skills who works as a math coach at the Baileyscores do not belong in any evaluation split is subject to traditional bargaining of every candidate, Democrat and and Lincoln schools in Lowell and servessystem. In addition, the use of MCAS and some of the saved money must be Republican, before any decision on an as the vice president of the Unitedscores applies only to those teachers the subject of negotiations. This money endorsement is made. Teachers of Lowell, is one of just 60who teach those subjects. Student can be used to offset increased copays teacher representatives on the PPC council Public libraries from across the country .The council meetsgrowth, however that is defined, is also and deductibles. Our public libraries continue to throughout the year to discuss key issues The law’s complexity will guarantee suffer. Even in good times, their funding aligned with the national AFT mission and to that both the municipalities and the direct the work of AFT Teachers accordingly. is inadequate. Some are open less hours unions will be trying to decipher it for Congratulations Kate—we know we can and have fewer professional staff. Clearly quite a while. count on you to represent Massachusetts more money needs to be directed to educators well! Pensions the libraries. For this to happen we The official publication of need more revenue. More about more Although proposed legislation will AFT Massachusetts, AFL-CIO not affect current employees, those hired revenue in a future column. Drum Beat Thomas J. Gosnell, President after January 1, 2012 would see significant I appreciate the wonderful service If you happen to catch a performance by Josh changes if the legislation should pass. all of you give to our students and the Mark Allred, Sr., Secretary-Treasurer Groban this fall, keep an ear out for Davie The minimum retirement age general public. I would also appreciate an DiCenso, a member of the Percussion VICE PRESIDENTS would be 60 and for many, many public increase in the number of people praising Department at Berklee College of Music Patricia Armstrong employees 67 would be the age for your commitment. Too many criticize. If and a member of the Berklee Faculty Deborah Blinder benefits. you have questions or comments, contact Union. DiCenso has just joined the grammy- Sean Bowker The Senate has passed the bill. The tgosnell@aftma.net nominated singer’s world tour as a drummer. Kathryn Chamberlain He will be performing in the US, Canada, Brenda Chaney Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Kathy Delaney Zealand for the rest of the year. Catherine Deveney Patricia Driscoll Marianne Dumont J. Michael Earle Hero Time Margaret Farrell The AFT is once again seeking nominations Mary Ferriter for its Everyday Heroes contest. Nominate Jenna Fitzgerald Richard Flaherty an AFT member who inspires you by making Paul Georges a difference in their school, workplace or Alice M. Gunning community and you could receive $250. Daniel Haacker Nominate your Everyday Hero at www. Joyce Harrington aft.org/everydayheroes by Thanksgiving Susan Leahy Day, November 24. Last year, AFT MA Francis McLaughlin member Jerry Hopcroft, an engineering Bruce Nelson professor at the Wentworth Institute of Catherine Patten Technology, made the semifinal rounds of James Philip Bruce Sparfven the competition. Hopcroft was nominated Richard Stutman by colleague Marilyn Stern for his service Gale Thomas learning work in the impoverished Peruvian community of Chirimoto. Jennifer C. Berkshire, Editor 38 Chauncy St., Suite 402 Editor’s note: This month marks the debut Boston, Mass. 02111 of a new contributor, cartoonist and retired Tel. 617-423-3342 /800-279-2523 teacher Joe Quicgley (see left). Look for his Fax: 617-423-0174 www.aftma.net humorous, timely take on issues to appear advocate@aftma.net regularly in these pages.—JCB 2
  3. 3. Standing Up for the Future Continued from cover candidates for our public schools here in Lynn?” Politics remains a But this event is about more than just the next Lynn School Committee highly local affair in race. The Lynn Teachers Union is Massachusetts.The big one of the largest unions in this old question: what’s the best industrial city. And with 5-6,000 total union voters in Lynn, the LTU way to make our voices could potentially have a much more heard at the local level? significant voice in local politics. “This is an opportunity for us to help shape There is evidence that even fledgling the future of the city we all care so muchefforts like these can have a big impact. about,” says Duncan.Last spring, members of the HollistonFederation of Teachers dramatically Time for a changestepped up their presence in the local In Amesbury, the wakeup call camecommunity, helping to spearhead a last spring during a protracted fight withtax override measure—one of the few the school committee over the future ofsuch efforts to be approved by voters the paraprofessionals who work with SHOW OF STRENGTH Teachers and paraprofessionals in Lowell rally outsideanywhere in the Commonwealth. As special needs students in the schools. of city hall before a recent school committee meeting. Members of the Uniteda result of their leadership on that (See Advocate, September 2011). Teachers of Lowell (UTL) have been without a contract for more than two years. Despite being able to rally hundreds of While the UTL has received national acclaim for its embrace of a collaborativeissue, the Holliston teachers are now concerned parents and local residents school reform model, relations with the Lowell School Committee remain tense.perceived as the lead voice on educationissues in that community. to their side, AFT Amesbury had little committee meetings,” says Angerhofer. ability to affect the terms of the debate;Candidates debate school committee members remained A bigger picture Take action Later this month, all eight steadfast in their commitment to As in Lynn, the ultimate aim of Looking for ways to step up yourcandidates for Lynn’s School Committee outsourcing the paras in order to save AFT Amesbury goes beyond merely union’s presence? Follow these tried-will take the stage at the Breed Middle money. impacting individual local officials. and-true tips:School for a wide-ranging debate on “By the time we got involved in the Instead, notes Angerhofer, he andeverything from a proposed ballot discussion it was really too late,” says his colleagues want to redefine the Work together common image of their union as Reach out to other unions and com-initiative that would essentially Tim Angerhofer, a seventh grade math one representing a narrow set of self munity groups in your area;eliminate tenure for teachers to the teacher and building representativephysical condition of Lynn’s aging at the Amesbury Middle School. The interests: jobs, money and benefits. Form linksschools. John Lauber, the moderator, is paraprofessionals would eventually “When you start to think about who Form links to local parent groups. Onehimself a retired Lynn teacher, while the offer deep concessions in order to save ‘we’ are, ‘we’ includes parents and example: the Holliston Federation ofaudience will be filled with the teachers, their jobs but for Angerhofer and his members of the community. It includes Teachers now sends a designated rep-paraprofessionals and therapists who fellow members a lesson had been our students too—‘we’ is anyone who resentative to meetings of the PTA;make up the Lynn Teachers Union learned. “If we’re going to have a real cares about education in Amesbury,” Be a visible presence(LTU). The event will also be broadcast say in these discussions we have to says Angerhofer. Most significantly, he Attend school committee meetings,live on the local cable access channel. make our voices heard all along, not just notes, ‘we’ have the numbers. “When budget hearings as well as local civicSays Brant Duncan, who serves as the at the end of budget season.” you consider how many people in our events;president of the union: “The school So Angerhofer and a colleague, community support us and support the Amesbury schools, we are a force.” Talk amongst yourselvescommittee exerts tremendous influence eighth grade math teacher Mike A regular newsletter, website orover the lives of the people who work Wesolowski, began discussing how to Community presence e-bulletin is key to making sure thatin the Lynn Public Schools. Doesn’t it realize that goal. While their project everyone in the union is up-to-date and When the Holliston Public Schoolsmake sense that we try to figure out is still in the planning stages—it lacks in the know; faced a budget crunch last year, localwhere they stand?” even a name at this point—they are officials offered a draconian response. Spread the word Duncan says that he also hopes that clear on what they hope to accomplish. Kindergarten teaching aides, elementary Notify the press in your communitythe debate helps to drive forward the First on the agenda: subjecting the learning aids, the hockey team, even the when you’re holding an event, havediscussion about the state of education school committee and its finance highly-regarded local drama program— something important to say or havein Lynn. “The standard response right subcommittee to a level of public all were on the chopping block. “They good news to share.now is that ‘there isn’t any money.’ scrutiny that they no longer expect. “We didn’t try trimming the tree, they justI think what we all want to know as need a regular, strong, visible, and, if wanted to start lopping off branches,” And while the threat of budget cutseducators is what is the vision of these necessary, vocal presence at all school says Matt McGuiness, a social studies and job losses may be off the table teacher at Holliston High School and for now, the HFT has continued its former president of the 260 member efforts to forge links with parents and Holliston Federation of Teachers (HFT). stronger ties to the community. When To counter the cuts the HFT joined the American Federation of Teachers forces with a group of local parents held a recent national day of action, to become the leading advocates of the HFT decided to mark the occasion a nearly $1 million override in the by sending thank you notes to parents. metrowest town, most of which was “Any parent who’d helped out in a earmarked for the schools. The override classroom got a direct thank you from narrowly passed, but the experience, the Holliston Federation of Teachers,” notes McGuiness, has served to says McGuiness. transform the way the HFT relates to The union is also planning to put in both parents and the larger Holliston in a repeat appearance at the upcoming community. Celebrate Holliston event; teachers In the build up to the vote, and paraprofessionals have signed up parents and HFT members held joint for hour shifts to hand out free HFT organizing meetings, sent letters to rulers and sell 50/50 raffle tickets, the local newspaper and distributed the proceeds of which go to pay for informational fliers at school committee scholarships for local students. “It’s meetings. Meanwhile, the HFT made so important for the local to have a a conscious decision to step up its direct linkage with the community,” presence in the community, even says McGuinness. “Don’t leave it reserving a table at the annual Celebrate up to school administrators and the Holliston event. “This was a way for superintendent—you be that link.” people to walk by and see that the HFT is an important part of the civic life of the community,” says McGuinness. 3October 2011
  4. 4. Diary S he’s awake flashed silently across the screen of my cell phone. HEART STRINGS Today was the second day in a Fifth grade teacher row that I left for work while my kids, Melissa McDonald, Jackson and Lucy, were still asleep. pictured with of a New Teacher I’ve just returned to my fifth grade daughter Lucy and teaching position at Parthum Middle son Jackson, has School after a year long maternity leave just returned to the By Melissa McDonald, that began when my daughter Lucy was classroom after a Fifth grade teacher, born last September. After being their year of maternity Parthum Middle School, leave. McDonald says primary caregiver for the last year, it’s Lawrence, MA that she agonized uncomfortable to think about someone over the questions of else filling my shoes during the day whether to go back to Meet the 2011-2012 while I am at school working with and teaching. “I ultimately New Teacher Diarists caring for other people’s children. realized that I would About six months ago I was be a happier mom ifBill Madden-Fuoco paralyzed by the decision about I returned to work,”A humanities teacher at the Urban Science whether or not to return to teaching. writes McDonald.Academy in West Roxbury, Bill was also a I bounced back and forth like a ballsemi-finalist in the state’s 2012 Teacher of in a tennis match. If Jackson and essentially training her to take my milestones, but when I get to schoolthe Year contest. Lucy were in good spirits and things place at the house during the day with in the morning, I find that I don’tRobert Tobio were going well, I wanted to stay the kids. dwell on worrying about what Katelyn,Robert teaches math and special education home forever. If they were cranky or At first I didn’t want to leave. I Jackson and Lucy are doing. Oddly,at the Mary Lyon Pilot School in Brighton overwhelming, I was suddenly eager to worried that the kids wouldn’t bond it has begun to feel like I never left myand previously taught at Monument High in get back to the classroom. As I tried to with our nanny. Then I worried that classroom at Parthum. My days areSouth Boston, which closed last spring. sort out my feelings, I made multiple they would bond with her. I had to fast-paced and I’m fully engaged withMelissa McDonald lists of pros and cons. find reasons to force myself to leave the the kids in front of me.A fifth grade teacher at the Parthum Through my sleepless nights and house so that the three of them could That’s not to say that Sunday nightsElementary School in Lawrence, Melissa depressing indecision I ultimately fall into a routine without me. I needed aren’t difficult. I know, though, thatis returning to teaching after a year of realized that I would be a happier to accept that someone else could care this is making me a happier mom. Andmaternity leave. mom if I returned to work. I knew for my children adequately even if she as a happier mom, I think I’m doing that I wanted to have a life somewhat might do things differently from me. I a better job at being a mom. I’m alsoJoyce Melker separate from my home. But even after cried those first few times as I closed savoring all of the small moments IA paraprofessional at the Watson Elemen- I committed to going back, I continued the front door. have with my kids. Jackson and Lucytary School in Fall River, Joyce is a student to doubt my decision and worry that I As I expected, everyone survived. In are learning to rely on other people andin the JET teacher training program at was wrong. fact, things went on just fine at home to trust that I’ll return to them in theUMass Dartmouth. The end of the summer was surreal. without me. I was the one who needed afternoon. This is an important timeMatthew Robinson We realized that having two kids in to adjust to the new routine of our life for all of us.Matthew is beginning his second year daycare would cost as much as hiring just as Jackson and Lucy needed to She’s awake, reads the message onteaching English and journalism at the a full-time nanny, so that’s what we adjust to having someone new to care my cell phone. I tuck my phone awayBurke High School in Dorchester. did. We received dozens of applications for them during the day. and walk into school for another day.Riana Good and met with several people before After a month, heading out in I’m already smiling as I think of theWhile Riana is technically no longer a new we found the right fit. The kids liked the morning has finally gotten a bit big hugs I’ll get when I get home thisteacher, this Spanish teacher at the Boston Katelyn right away, and we knew that easier. I still worry that Katelyn will afternoon.Teachers Union School in Jamaica Plain says she was a good match for our family. hear Lucy’s first word or see her walkthat she still feels like a ‘newby.’ Send your comments to meljmcdonald@ I spent the final weeks of the summer for the first time while I miss these gmail.com Lesley University School of Education 4 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
  5. 5. BEHIND W alter Armstrong understands STEPPING UP plenty about the economic New AFT MA field insecurity that worries so many THE SCENES Americans these days. Armstrong representative Walter Armstrong, began his career as a computer systems seen here with engineer back when e-mail was still his wife Norma, Walter Armstrong, a novelty. The world of personal transitioned from a career in computing was just beginning to take Field Representative off, recalls Armstrong, and his own technology to one future seemed as bright as the booming in municipal public safety. Along the technology sector itself. But when the way he became company he worked for, a specialist in a passionate mini computers, suddenly collapsed in spokesman for the 1990’s, Armstrong found himself the importance of facing a job search—and a dilemma. unions. “The union “I wanted a job that couldn’t just is our voice and if disappear over night,” says Armstrong. we don’t exercise So he took a different path, going to that voice we lose work for the town of Bellingham as a it.” public safety dispatcher, responding to emergency calls placed by local workers, paraprofessionals, custodians next summer. residents of the Southeastern and cafeteria workers. Among his As he embarks on a new career as Massachusetts community to the police proudest moments was helping to a field representative, Armstrong says and fire departments. And in addition organize a group of applied behavioral that he’s looking forward to helping the to a new job, Armstrong quickly found assessment technicians—individuals members of AFT Massachusetts much himself with another brand new title: who work with profoundly challenged like he spent the past decade assisting union activist. youth in the school—that the town Bellingham residents. “People who call “Up until that point I’d never sought to reclassify as independent 911 are usually in crisis. Union work is been in a union,” says Armstrong. “I contractors. very similar in that it’s our job to help started to understand how important For Armstrong, who grew up in our members at a time when they really a union is. As working people, it’s Blackstone and lives there still, the need us. I find great satisfaction in that, really the only way that we can have transition from technology to town and in knowing that I go to work each any say in our workplace.” When a employee turned out to be a blessing in day to a job that allows me to try and co-worker encouraged him to run disguise; he discovered his true passion. make a difference in the lives of working for vice president of the Bellingham In 2004 he participated in an AFSCME people.” Municipal Employees, part of the leadership institute where he met union Armstrong says that he’ll also be American Council of State, Federation leaders from across the country. “It lit a doing his part to convince AFT MA and Municipal Employees or AFSCME, fire in me,” says Armstrong. “The more members to get more involved in their Armstrong jumped at the opportunity. I got involved, the more I wanted to union—just the way his colleagues did He would end up serving as president of learn and do.” He’s currently pursuing more than a decade ago. “The union is his local for nine years, representing 150 a master’s degree in labor studies at our voice and if we don’t exercise that municipal employees including clerical UMass Amherst and is hoping to finish voice we lose it.” Welcome aboard! Earn your Master of Arts in Teaching at Northeastern. Offered through Northeastern University’s College of • Online, hybrid, and evening classes Professional Studies, the Master of Arts in Teaching • Part-time and full-time enrollment options allows you to secure your master’s degree and teacher’s • Leads to Massachusetts initial licensure in elementary or secondary education license in as few as 12 months. • PLUS program offering additional licensure in Special Education or a TESOL graduate certificate • Special tuition rate and financial aid available For more information or to apply, visit www.northeastern.edu/cps/MAT or call 1.877.668.7727 Next classes begin January 9, 2012 5October 2011
  6. 6. On Campus Dan Georgianna, Political Director UMass Faculty Federation, Local 1895Hurting Future Public Employees is Bad for All SIGNS OF THE TIMES “The Commonwealth’s Unlike Wisconsin where the CAMPUS UPDATE pension plan, assault on the rights of teach- Lucky Number hammered by anti- ers and other public sector Members of the Longy Faculty public worker groups as workers was full scale and Union are celebrating their lucky dramatic, workers in Massa- number—and it has nothing to do with a wasteful expense, is chusetts are experiencing a the lottery.The union at the historic in danger of becoming more subtle erosion of their music school in Cambridge received their charter number from AFT this nothing more than a rights. month.They are now officially Longy forced savings plan.” Faculty Union, Local 06484. The 5% of annual salary in the 1970s to All for one and one for all underlies official designation is the latest in the current 9% with an additional 2% the purpose and strength of unions. It’s a momentous series of events forI t’s a sign of the times and our sensibilities that changes to thepublic employees retirement system for annual salary over $30,000. K-12 teachers and staff pay a full 11% of their one of those slogans that is difficult to explain but you know it when you see the new union members. Last spring they ratified their first ever collective salaries towards their pensions. Under it. Its opposite, all against all, is even bargaining agreement by a unanimousrecently passed by the Massachusetts this bill, newly hired public employees easier to recognize as a measure of vote and now have a contract thatState Senate don’t look too bad. The would have to pay into the system for a union weakness. provides faculty at the school with ‘justbill increases the minimum age for full five more years to receive the same AFT Massachusetts is a member cause’ language for the first time in theearly retirement from 55 to 60 and benefit. of the Coalition of Public Employees school’s existence. Congratulations tothe minimum age for maximum State workers’ payments to their working to publicize the truth about the members of Local 6484!retirement benefits from 65 to 67, uses pensions would cover an average 94% public employees’ pensions and lobbythe highest five years rather than the of the amount paid out to them when against the Bill as it goes to the Housetop three years to determine pension they retire and K-12 teachers and staff of Representatives. Go to www.aftma.payments, and makes a few other would pay over 100% of their pension net for more information. Co-Insurance Plan Sets offchanges. Best of all, the changes only costs. The Commonwealth’s pension I was delighted to read Protestsaffect new employees, those hired after plan, hammered by anti-public worker Commissioner Richard Freeland of A proposal to gut health insuranceJanuary 1, 2012, leaving retirement groups as a wasteful expense, is in the Massachusetts Department of plans for students at UMass Amherstrules unchanged for current public and UMass Dartmouth has inspired danger of becoming nothing more than Higher Education’s column last monthemployees and retirees. protests on both of those campuses. a forced savings plan. on The Vision Project, an action The plan would introduce so-called After all, we’re in a recession, right? The bill’s small changes in the plan to improve college attendance co-insurance for students who requireAnd funding the pension system for the formula make large differences in and completion rates. The Plan’s services not available at campus healthfuture requires some current sacrifices, pension payout. According to the centerpiece is improving the readiness clinics. Students requiring Ob/Gyn visits,right? This may be the best we can do Retired State, County & Municipal of high school graduates for college. maternity services and consultationsin an era when many private sector Employees of Massachusetts, a new We all have seen strategic plans go by with off-campus specialists will soon beemployees have lost their retirement public employee who retires at age 60 the boards, but Dr. Freeland does the forced to pay fifteen to twenty percentbenefits, right? with 30 years service would receive walk. As President of Northeastern of the total cost of such visits. Students I felt a bit queasy with the nickel 43.5% under the new bill instead of University from 1996 to 2006, at the UMass campuses argue that “co-and diming, but wasn’t too upset (as 60% under the current formula. he sharply increased the number insurance is no insurance” and that theone of those who are not affected by Charging new public employees of tenure-track faculty and made proposal sets a dangerous precedentthe change in the bill) until I started for all Massachusetts residents, not just higher rates for the same pension Northeastern a national leader notreading statements made by our students.The plan, they argue, is particu- benefits that all public employees only in cooperative education but also larly discriminatory towards femalefriends, Governor Patrick and Senate receive follows the same pattern as in integrating liberal arts studies into students who could face thousands ofPresident Therese Murray, in support newer public employees paying higher professional disciplines. dollars in medical bills for standard ma-of their bill. contributions for the same health ternity services. Look for this issue to On his web site, Governor Patrick insurance. Both are a sure way to Share your comments with Dan at heat up on campuses across the UMasshad this to say about his proposal: “The weaken union support for the future. dgeorgianna@umassd.edu system in the coming months. For moreprovisions included in this plan … are information visit http://massjwj.net/absolutely necessary to reinforce to the umass.public that state government continuesto be focused on their business and noton personal gain.” Is it just me or doesGovernor Patrick give the impression Help Wantedthat public employees would bilk the The search for the next UMasssystem if it were not for his restraining Amherst Chancellor is under way.hand? The current occupant of that office, Senate President Therese Robert C. Holub, recently announcedMurray, co-sponsor of the bill, joined that he will step down at the endMichael J. Widmer, president of the of the 2011-2012 school year. AnMassachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, 18 member panel will conduct ain touting the importance of the national search for the new head.Commonwealth’s bond rating over the The help wanted sign is also up atpublic employees’ pension program. UMass Dartmouth where Chancel- Neither Governor Patrick nor lor Jean MacCormack, who has ledSenate President Murray mentioned that school since 1999, recentlyclosing tax loopholes as a better way announced that she plans to leave atto balance the budget and improve the the end of the academic year. AlsoState’s bond rating. stepping down: UMass Dartmouth But it’s the cost of this bill to future provost, Anthony Garro. A search forpublic employees that is the more replacements for both positions isserious problem. Pension payments expected to begin soon.by state workers have increased from 6 The AFT Massachusetts Advocate
  7. 7. Retiree Corner SENIOR SEMINARS How to Protect Your Nest Egg Marie Ardito, Co-founder and Plan for the Right Outcome Massachusetts Retirees United for Your Family www.retireesunited.org This popular seminar, given by elder law attorney Mary Howie, looks atChanges In Store for Savings Bonds many issues involving probate, trusts, Medicare Trusts, Benefits for veterans and their spouses and much more.M ost of us have purchased US Savings Bonds either to give as agift or to use as a vehicle for savings. As headquarters, I was told they would be reissued in paper due to death, to change a co-owner or beneficiary, or Another bit of information for those of you who have bonds that you have not looked at for a while: make sure Offered on two dates: Saturday October 29, 10 to noon Saturday December 3, 10 to noonof December 31, 2011 you will no longer to put a second name on the bond. your bonds have not gone past the finalbe able to purchase these bonds from a They said the issuing of electronic maturity date that is 30 years from the Where Presidential Park, 314 Mainbank or financial institution. bonds applies to initial purchases made date of issuance. If you have not paid Street, Unit 105,Wilmington, MA (Main Beginning January 1, 2012 you will after the January date. Do not delay, the interest yearly that the bond has St. is Rt. 38.The entrance to the park ishave to establish a TreasuryDirect (all however, if you have some to reissue in made (which most do not) then the across from the Wilmington House ofone word) non-interest account. You case this changes in the future. interest must be paid at the time the Pizza sign.)will put whatever amount you want Paper bonds will be issued after bond is cashed but reported on the taxinto this account and when you want January only if one purchases an return no later than the year of final Preparing for Retirementto purchase a Savings Bond the cost of inflation-protected Series I bond with maturity. Thus, if you have bonds that Currently scheduled for the followingthe bond will be withdrawn from your a tax refund when you file your federal exceed that date, not only are they not locations:account. There are no fees to open this taxes. The amount cannot exceed gaining interest, but may open the dooraccount nor for purchasing the bonds. $5,000. for a possible tax penalty and /or fine • Butler School, 1140 Gorham St.,The other way to pay for the purchase of Remember, if you have a bond for you. If you are within three years of Lowell, MA Oct. 13, 4-6p.m.bonds is through a debit from your bank reissued and change the primary owner, when the bond reached full maturity • Beverly Northshore Educationaccount. Paper bonds will no longer be except in the case of a death, taxes must you can amend the federal tax return Consortium, 112 Sohier Road.issued after that date. All new bonds will be paid on the interest that the bond for the year the interest should have Tuesday October 18, 3:30-5:30be issued electronically. It is estimated has accrued to that date. To change been reported. If beyond three years, • Rockport Elementary Schoolthat this will result in a savings of over a second name on the bond or add a the sooner you cash it in and report the Library, 34 Jerdens Lane,Thursday$70 million in the first five years of the name, taxes on the interest is deferred interest the better to avoid making the October 20, 3:15-5:15program between printing, mailing and until the bond is cashed and paid by the penalty more severe.processing costs. You will still be able to person cashing the bond. There is no So if you are one who likes to give Attention teachers: if you would like onecash bonds at banks and other financial Massachusetts state tax on the interest bonds as gifts but do not like the idea of the above free seminars presentedinstitutions after the January date. earned from US Savings Bonds. of electronic bonds and want the paper in your school district, ask your union The question about reissuing Another change that will begin in ones, then make your purchases before president to contact Marie Ardito.paper bonds that you currently own January is the amount you can spend the end of this year. As one who grewalso arises. The website from which on bonds in a given year. You cannot up during World War II when we All the above seminars are free.ToI clarified this information makes it purchase more than $5,000 each in EE prided ourselves in helping with the register call Marie Ardito at 1-617-482-sound as though they will only be issued Bonds and I Bonds. Until November, war effort by purchasing Victory Bonds, 1568 or e-mail mardito@retireesunited.in paper if they are reissued because I Bonds are paying 4.6% interest, but as they were called then, I worry that org. Make sure to specify which seminarthey were lost, stolen or destroyed. there is a penalty if one cashes them this new move by the government may you plan to attend and the number ofChecking with the US Savings Bonds within five years. discourage people from supporting their individuals who will be attending. country by buying bonds.The Golden Following a Mentor ‘Into the Ring’ Apple teacher, mentor and coach, however, I came to see what a deep and complete person he was and all that he had to around my current school fall to gangs and drugs, being able to inspire them to use their bodies and minds to get offer me and the thousands of students into college and make something ofBy Matt Robinson, English Language he taught. their lives has been a wonderful andArts, journalism and boxing instructor From that first class, I felt rewarding experience. And I could notat the Jeremiah E. Burke High School, completely safe taking on this activity have done that without Ron either.Boston, MA that, admittedly, leads many to injury I will never forget Ron walking allI have never been particularly and even death. The way he worked the way across campus backwards as aggressive. Frankly, I have also with the students, pushing everyone he filmed me marching to graduation.never been much of a natural athlete. to work harder while being sure to Every time one of the members ofEven so, when I first met Ron Aurit, I pair people up according to ability so the security detail advised him thatwas willing to put my trust and a good nobody felt dumb or unable to keep up no guests were allowed, Ron woulddeal of my academic and personal life made me want to work for him and for smile and reply “It’s okay” and keepin his hands. the class he had been teaching as an on going. With Ron, everything was I first met Ron while a freshman at unrecognized campus activity for 20 “okay”—even facing the threat ofthe University of Pennsylvania. I was years. After a few months of dedicated facial rearrangement. He exudedtaking a freshman English seminar on attendance and practice, I was named and elicited a calm confidence thatone end of campus. One day, one of my captain of the team and made it my allowed everyone to learn, grow andclassmates approached me and asked mission to get official recognition for have fun. It is this style of supportiveif I liked boxing. “Yeah,” I replied, Ron and for the club. After a year and instruction I have tried to emulate asnot all that enthusiastically, as I had a half that included meetings with a Big Brother, a mentor, a tutor and aonly tried my hands in the ring a few everyone from student council to the teacher.times at camp. Encouraged, he invited president of the university, the goal Now that I am teaching boxing atme to check out a boxing class that was reached and Ron and I celebrated the Burke, I hope to realize it evenwas held on the other end of campus by getting ourselves some varsity more fully and authentically. We willon Thursday nights. So eschewing boxing jackets. It is one of my most face challenges—it is a challenging“Seinfeld” I put on my shorts and prized possessions and I still wear it community. But, with Ron’s guidance INTO THE RING New teacher Mattsneakers and made the trek. every so often, always proudly. and support and that of my colleagues Robinson with his mentor, Ron Aurit. As soon as I met Ron, I knew he Another way in which Ron has and the school system, I am sure that Robinson met Aurit while a student inspired me and allowed me to inspire I can bring the same discipline, desire, himself and now seeks to emulatewas something special. Physically, he others is as the founder of the Boxing and dedication to my students that Ron his mentor’s model of supportivewas a short, somewhat stocky, and Scholarship Foundation, Inc., for which has brought to his for over 30 years. instruction, both as a teacher andapparently far from “fighting form” as the boxing instructor at Boston’sguy with short white hair and an easy I serve as New England chairman. As I Thanks, Ron, for getting me in the Burke High School.smile. As I got to know this veteran have seen so many of the young people ring and ready to work ‘til the bell.October 2011 7