Agenda features elections and awards
By Jean Conley
T he 174th MTA Annual Meeting of Delegates will feature discussions about the Fund Our Future Campaign, union organizing and
member empowerment, as well as recognition of
people who have shown their dedication to public
education, labor rights and social justice.
The event will be held on Friday, May 3, and
Saturday, May 4, at the Hynes Convention Center in
Delegates will also elect members of the
association’s Board of Directors and Executive
Committee and consider proposed changes to bylaws
and resolutions. They will take up new business items
and act on the association’s budget for the next fiscal
year. In addition, Statewide Retired District delegates
will fill four seats on the Retired Members Committee.
The meeting will be called to order at noon on
Friday. MTA President Merrie Najimy and MTA
Vice President Max Page will deliver leadership
reports. New MTA Executive Director-Treasurer Lisa
Gallatin will also address the delegates.
During an issues forum on Friday, the delegates
will hear reports from locals that are standing up for
themselves, their students and their communities as
they face continued assaults on public education.
They will see a video on the Fund Our Future
campaign and discuss the connections between local
issues and the national Red for Ed movement.
Also on Friday, 29 public educators will be
recognized for their participation in the Teacher
Leadership Institute. The institute is a partnership
involving the MTA, the National Education
Association, the Center for Teaching Quality and the
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
On Saturday, the delegates will discuss
planning for the next phase of the Fund Our Future
campaign, including rallies at the State House and
in Springfield on May 16. Two bills now pending in
the Legislature, the Promise Act and the Cherish Act,
would increase state funding for public schools and
colleges by more than $1.5 billion a year.
Among the awards to be presented on Saturday
is the President’s Award, which will pay tribute to
the Red for Ed movement. Najimy said she chose to
honor the entire movement with this year’s award,
rather than a specific individual.
“Red for Ed is sweeping the nation because of
its focus on the big conversation we all need to be
having about the billionaire-backed privatization
agenda for public education and what our students,
schools and communities really need,” she said.
“We have not one person to pay tribute to, but many
thousands of educators who are just like us.
“Educators have seized the moment, bringing
about a sea change in the nation’s perception of
public education,” Najimy added.
This year’s’ keynote speaker, Karla Griego, a
longtime special education teacher in Los Angeles
who was a leader of the recent United Teachers Los
Angeles strike, will accept the President’s Award as a
representative of the movement.
During Griego’s involvement with UTLA,
the union has moved from a service-centered
organization to an organizing union, adopting a rank-and-file-driven platform and social justice goals.
Griego serves as co-chair of the Power Caucus and
as a member of the UTLA Board of Directors.
T he MTA Friend of Labor Award will be presented to Ann Clarke, who retired recently as the MTA’s executive director-treasurer.
Throughout a distinguished MTA career
that stretched for more than four decades, Clarke
advanced the interests of members, students and
public education, building the union’s power on
many fronts. Over the years, as she moved from staff
attorney to general counsel and ultimately executive
director-treasurer, Clarke embraced the issues of
crucial importance to educators, students and unions.
The Friend of Education award will be presented
to Ricardo Rosa and José Soler, co-chairs of the New
Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools.
The coalition — which is leading the fight
against charter school expansion in the city — was
formed during the campaign that defeated Question
2 in 2016.
Rosa was born in Cape Verde and grew up in
Brockton, where he attended the public schools.
As an adult, Rosa became an outspoken critic
of charter school proposals in Brockton. He and
his family settled in New Bedford in 2011 when
he became an assistant professor of education at
UMass Dartmouth, specializing in curriculum and
Soler, a longtime activist for social and civil
rights, was born in New York City and has family
roots in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
By the early 1970s, he was playing a role in seeking
independence for Puerto Rico. For 22 years, Soler
led the Arnold Dubin Labor Education Center at
UMass Dartmouth. Though he is now retired, Soler
continues to focus his efforts on social justice and
Jamil Siddiqui, the 2019 Massachusetts Teacher
of the Year and a member of the East Bridgewater
Education Association, will also address the
delegates on Saturday.
The longtime math teacher brings a sense of
shared responsibility to his classroom style at East
Bridgewater Junior/Senior High School. Siddiqui’s
joy for his subject and his dedication to teaching are
infectious. In the past 25 years, Siddiqui has counted
at least 15 of his former students who went on to
become high school or college math teachers.
The proposed MTA operating budget of
$46,845,152 for fiscal 2019-2020 will be presented
and voted on. The budget was reviewed by the
Advisory Budget Committee, the Executive
Committee and the Board of Directors. Proposed
annual dues are $477 for full-time active members, a
$3 increase over the current year.
Under the proposed budget, dues for secretaries,
clerks and custodians would increase $2, to $287;
dues for aides, food service personnel and other
education support professionals would increase $1,
In addition, the proposed Public Relations/
Organizing Campaign budget will be considered.
The recommended general dues assessment for
the PR/Organizing budget is $20, unchanged from
last year. For secretaries, clerks and custodians,
the assessment would be $12; aides, food service
personnel and other education support professionals
would be assessed $6.
The two proposed budgets combined reflect a $3
increase from last year in total dues per member.
To learn more about the Annual Meeting and
read the Report of the Interim Executive Director-Treasurer, visit massteacher.org/annualmeeting.