Haverhill cancels school for 4th straight day as teachers strike continues

Despite the threat of fines, teachers in Haverhill will hit the picket lines for a fourth straight day Thursday morning.

The ongoing strike will also force kids out of the classroom for the fourth straight day.

The Haverhill Education Association and the school district were not able to come to an agreement despite a bargaining session that, participants told Boston 25, had emotions bubbling to the surface.

“We are very frustrated,” said President of Haverhill Education Association Tim Briggs to a pool of reporters after exiting the bargaining session. “You would have found a room full of men and women crying their eyes out.”

Teachers in Haverhill make about $10,000 less than the state average. The school district has offered teachers raises totaling $20 million over three years, but Scott Wood of the Haverhill School Committee said they are asking for more.

Teachers have tentatively agreed to the district’s salary proposal. But the two sides are both at odds over a potential system to recognize students who are struggling emotionally.

On Wednesday, Essex Superior Court Judge James Lang informed the Haverhill Education Association and the Massachusetts Teachers Association that they will each incur an initial $50,000 fine, in addition to fines of up to $10,000 a day, if the striking teachers don’t agree to ditch the picket line and return to their jobs. In addition, union leadership must publicly disavow the strike, according to the judge’s order.

On Tuesday, Lang also issued a cease-and-desist order, requiring union leadership to stop any action condoning or inducing the work stoppage. He previously stated that the strike is causing irreparable harm to the city’s 8,000 students.

Despite the judge’s order, the educators intend to keep working the picket lines.

“You’re talking about putting a price on student safety we don’t think that there is a price on student safety,” said Briggs.

Student wellbeing also seems to be on the forefront of the mind of district officials.

“There’s a financial impact, but I think there is also a psychological impact too that a court has ruled against the union’s actions here and now they are forcing some pain in their direction,” said school committee attorney Dave Connolly.

Still, educators say they’re willing to work the lines for the benefit of not only themselves, but their students.

“Personally speaking go ahead we are doing this we are here for us. We are 800 strong we are here to fight we want is right for the kids,” one picketer told Boston 25.

Negotiations are set to resume at 10:00 a.m.

Good evening Haverhill families, We are still in discussions with the Haverhill Education Association. While we are...

Posted by Haverhill Public Schools on Wednesday, October 19, 2022

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