Newton teachers overwhelmingly vote to ratify contract, ending 2 week strike

Schools

97% of Newton Teachers Association members voted to ratify the contract after students missed 11 days of school due to teachers’ strikes.

Steven Senne

The Newton Teachers Association (NTA) voted by a large margin to ratify a new union contract Sunday after two weeks of striking, allowing schools to reopen for Monday after 11 days of missed classes.

NTA said Sunday that 97% of members voted to approve a four-year contract securing upgrades to parental leave, family leave, and minimum wages. The strike, which started Jan. 19, affected roughly 2,000 Newton Public School educators and around 12,000 students. 

Newton teachers reached a tentative agreement with the School Committee and announced an end to the strike on Friday, saying students would return to school on Monday. 

The agreement includes a pay increase of at least 12% for all union members over four years, NTA said in a Facebook post Sunday night. The deal also secured “one of the best parental leave benefits in the state,” guaranteeing at least eight weeks of paid leave. 

The contract will also bolster mental health support for students, increasing the number of social workers, school counselors, and psychologists in schools. 

School Committee voting on Wednesday

The school committee planned to vote on the contract on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. The contract will require a majority vote from the school committee to be ratified. 

“This contract reflects our values including respect for our educators,” the Newton School Committee said in a statement Friday. 

“This strike has been painful for NPS families and the entire City of Newton,” the statement continued. “We will all need some time to heal, and we ask for patience and leadership from all of the adults in the NPS community. It is up to us to show our kids how a strong community responds to challenges.”