For 14 days, the 585 courageous teachers of New Haven Teachers Association (NHTA) were on strike for the schools their students deserve. Their strike, which inspired a community movement and captured the attention of supporters nationwide, ended June 9 when NHTA members ratified the agreement by a 60-40 margin.
The struggle saw NHTA face off against an intransigent superintendent and his team of managers who walked out of negotiations numerous times, while the New Haven School Board refused to take action to end the strike. The longest strike of the #RedForEd era, New Haven’s 14 days on the line was longer than the historic strikes in Oakland and Los Angeles combined.
Ultimately, it was NHTA’s unity and strong community support that built the power necessary to win a fair settlement. Picket lines grew every day of the historic strike with parents, students, fellow CTA members and other allies joining educators in standing for New Haven schools. Their inspiring commitment saw more than 91 percent of NHTA members bring their amazing energy to picket lines on the strike’s final day.
“It was the courage and determination of NHTA members on the picket lines and the thousands of supportive parents and community members that finally resulted in this agreement,” said NHTA President Joe Ku’e Angeles.
The settlement includes: a 3-percent raise for educators retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019, a 2.5-percent bonus and a 1-percent raise starting July 1, 2019, (with an additional 1 percent contingent on passage of school funding legislation). The agreement also includes opportunities for retiring New Haven teachers to earn full-year credit with 14 days of summer school or work on student assessments.
“This is just the first step in creating the public schools our students deserve,” Angeles said. “We saw how much this community shares our values and supports its educators. That means the world to us and strengthens our resolve to make New Haven an even better school district as we move forward.”
Moving forward toward a new day in New Haven, emerging community leaders have already begun the recall process for three members of the New Haven Unified School Board. NHTA is already planning continued action to improve learning conditions and teaching conditions, including:
- Participating with parents in collecting signatures on the school board recall petition.
- Meeting regularly, weekly even, with the new superintendent to ensure students and teachers are a priority in the budget.
- Continuing conversations with school board members and monitoring board actions.
- Lower class sizes and increased student services and supports (mental health services, librarians, counselors) are major priorities in the next full bargaining session (the negotiations process starts again in the fall).
- Actively engaging in NHUSD budget review and development.
- Taking back control of professional development. In the past, NHUSD has received millions in grants for professional development, and instead of utilizing the expertise from within the New Haven teaching ranks, administrators spent it on useless consultants and trainings.
Angeles said the widespread support shown to New Haven teachers during the strike only strengthens their resolve to continue the fight for New Haven students.
“That this community values teachers so much, and is willing to stand up and advocate with us for our students, means the world to us,” he said. “Through the power and strength of organizing, parent support, and our unity, NHTA will fight even harder for our students, and to make New Haven an even better school district as we move forward.”