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State files for injunction to get Woburn teachers back in classroom after full day of striking

By Bob Ward, Boston 25 News,


WOBURN, Mass. — The state and city of Woburn sought an injunction to order striking teachers back to school after arguments from both sides were made in court late Monday afternoon. The judge assigned the case indicated a decision would be made soon, though an exact timetable was not given

Schools were closed Monday for students in Woburn as teachers are officially on strike. More than eight hours of negotiations ended Sunday without a deal. Both sides went back to the bargaining table at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

Teachers in Woburn could be seen rallying outside city hall, with hundreds of people holding signs and cheering as traffic passed – all part of an effort to seek a new contract. Among their demands, the Woburn Teachers Association said they want better pay, smaller class sizes and more gym time for students.

“We’re not trying to be millionaires, we’re just trying to make a livable wage so we can feed our families,” said WTA President Barbara Locke.

Woburn Mayor Scott Galvin said the district is offering teachers a more than 10% raise over three years, but the union wants a 14.75% raise. Galvin said that is an impossible proposal.

The teachers have also been demanding the city negotiate a new contract for paraprofessionals at the same time as the teacher talks, stating the current starting salary for paraprofessionals is around $22,000. They are fighting to raise that base pay to $27,000.

“Their illegal strike is not going to be used as a bargaining chip and they’re not going to use it to hijack negotiations,” Galvin said. “The kids are going to be inconvenienced, the parents are going to be inconvenienced, and for the teachers to say they have no other options, it’s outrageous.”

A city spokesperson said the two sides have met about 25 times in the past 18 months to try to sort out a contract.

“I think it’s sad. We want to be back. We want to be back in our classrooms,” said first-grade teacher, Karen Dionne. “It’s what they have to do, I guess. Hopefully, our mayor and our team can come to an agreement today, so that we can be back tomorrow.”

Woburn teachers are prepared to strike for as long as it takes, Locke says.

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

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