HAVERHILL, Mass. — As teachers worked the picket lines Tuesday, an Essex County Superior Court judge ordered the teachers back into the classroom just over an hour before the Haverhill school district cancelled its third straight day of classes.
Essex County Superior Court Judge James Lang issued a temporary restraining order that instructed striking teachers back to work, writing in the order that the city’s 8,000 students would suffer immediate and irreparable harm if the order was not issued.
At approximately 4:30 p.m., Lang also issued a cease and desist order, requiring union leadership to stop any action condoning or inducing the work stoppage.
BREAKING: Judge issues new injunction against striking Haverhill teachers, issues cease and desist order. Also requires union leadership to stop inducing, encouraging, or condoning any work stoppage. @boston25— Bob Ward Boston 25 (@Bward3) October 18, 2022
At approximately 5:45 p.m. the Haverhill School System Superintendent announced that classes would be cancelled Wednesday, the third straight day school doors would be shuttered to students.
Teacher strikes violate Massachusetts law.
‘It’s frustrating’: Haverhill parents support teacher strike but voice concerns over missed classes
In a Tuesday morning hearing, Lang told the Haverhill Education Association, “I’m not a mediator. I’m here to enforce a crystal-clear statute.”
A lawyer representing the Haverhill School Committee told the court that they are nowhere close to a deal with the HEA as the third day of the strike looms large.
According to a statement from the Haverhill School Committee, the two sides met for over four hours Tuesday but were unable to bridge a gap in contract.
The state urged Lang to consider contempt violation and sanctions against the teachers to get them back in the classroom. Lang then told the union that this would be the last chance to end the strike without “coercive sanctions.”
Lang made it clear that he “fully expects” to file a preliminary injection against the striking teachers at some point Tuesday.
The HEA voted to strike Friday over issues of salary, class size, school safety and racial justice.
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.
“Let me be clear about what that means if we give them exactly what they are asking for. That means massive layoffs throughout the district. That means user fees for students to play sports,” Wood explained.
Striking teachers in Malden returned to school Tuesday after reaching a deal on new contracts Monday night.
In Superior Court in Newburyport where battle over striking Haverhill teachers is now taking place. Yesterday, Judge Lang issued temp restraining order against teachers, now considering preliminary injunction.— Bob Ward Boston 25 (@Bward3) October 18, 2022
Teachers are still on strike. @boston25 pic.twitter.com/BSPEnH50C6
Judge Lang has told HEA, “Im not a mediator, I’m here to enforce a crystal clear statute.” Teachers strikes are illegal in MA. Yesterday he issued TRO against teachers ordering them back to work. Now considering preliminary injunction. @boston25 pic.twitter.com/OCxR4bKdzJ— Bob Ward Boston 25 (@Bward3) October 18, 2022
Lawyer for Haverhill School Committee, who sits at the bargaining table told the court, “The two sides are very far apart. I don’t see an agreement today.” @boston25— Bob Ward Boston 25 (@Bward3) October 18, 2022
BREAKING: Judge Lang said he fully expects he will issue a preliminary injunction against striking Haverhill teachers later today. @boston25— Bob Ward Boston 25 (@Bward3) October 18, 2022
State is asking Judge Lang to consider contempt violation and sanctions against striking Haverhill teachers now. “We’ve had two days of strikes, if this isn’t addressed now, there will be a third.” @boston25— Bob Ward Boston 25 (@Bward3) October 18, 2022
Judge to state: It seems to me, the clearest way to proceed is to issue the order, wait for response. If the strike continues, you’ll be back here seeking contempt sanctions.” @boston25— Bob Ward Boston 25 (@Bward3) October 18, 2022
Judge is telling union this is last chance to end the strike without “coercive sanctions.” Hearing is over. Expect order later today. @boston25— Bob Ward Boston 25 (@Bward3) October 18, 2022
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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