Advocacy News

New Haven Teachers Strike Reaches 11 Days

School board refuses to rein out-of-control superintendent

For more than two weeks, 585 brave New Haven teachers have been standing united for the schools their students deserve, on strike for as long as it takes to get a fair, student-centered agreement.

Since New Haven Teachers Association (NHTA) first walked off the job and onto picket lines on May 20, New Haven Unified School District’s (NHUSD) superintendent and managers have stomped out of negotiations numerous times and the New Haven School Board even walked out of a board meeting while a student was speaking.

In addition to this disrespectful and downright boorish behavior, NHUSD Superintendent Arlando Smith has refused to listen to reason and work toward a fair, student-centered settlement. Smith even suggested that Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond was not welcome in New Haven in his attempt to mediate an agreement between the two sides.

“I’m embarrassed for our community and for our schools. Arlando Smith told Tony Thurmond it was not his place to be involved, and that (Smith) didn’t want him here. I can’t believe he disrespected the superintendent of public instruction,” said NHTA President Joe Ku’e Angeles.

While NHTA has repeatedly revised its proposal, NHUSD has failed to substantially improve its offer to teachers. NHTA started by asking for 20% over two years while the district started at 0%. Currently, NHTA is proposing 6% over two years as recommended in the neutral fact-finding report and pay for the days teachers have been on strike, while NHUSD is offering 3% off-schedule and 2% on, with other pieces contingent on revenue levels.

“We want to end this strike, and this bargaining team has made considerable movement.  The proposal falls within the recommendation of the neutral fact-finding report, which was put together by an experienced, conservative fact-finder,” said Angeles.  “The counter-offer includes a 6 % salary increase over two years, restoration for the days on strike and opportunities for retiring teachers to earn a full year of credit toward their retirement.” 

The picket lines and community support for New Haven teachers have grown every day of this historic strike—already longer than this year’s strikes in Los Angeles (six days) and Oakland (seven days). More than 91% of NHTA is out on the lines, joined by fellow CTA members, parents, students and other allies, including the East Bay Democratic Socialists of America. In addition to CTA President Eric Heins, President-elect E. Toby Boyd and the CTA State Council, as well as NEA Vice President Becky Pringle, the New Haven teachers and their courageous strike recently received boosts of support from Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Assemblymember Ash Kalra and Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants.

Please consider supporting NHTA members, who have sacrificed to stand together for each other and their students, by donating to their Hardship Fund or help boosting their story on social media. Stay current with the situation by following NHTA on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

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