Illegal teachers union strikes abound in Massachusetts. In Newton, Massachusetts, 11,700 students were shut out of school, sports, fine arts, and after-school programs during a recent 11-day strike. Students who are still suffering from the consequences of prolonged COVID-era school closures just lost two more weeks of school. And now the teachers union in Hingham, Massachusetts is rallying and may strike soon. 

Massachusetts teachers are very well compensated for their 180-day work year. The average teacher salary in Newton was $93,031 (2021 data) before the strike; the new contract provides a 12% increase to annual cost of living adjustments for the next four years. The average Hingham teacher made $99,261 in 2021.

Even though it is illegal for public employees to strike in Massachusetts, multiple teachers unions have closed schools with strikes in recent years: Brookline (May 16, 2022), Malden (Oct. 17, 2022), Haverhill (Oct. 17-20, 2022), Woburn (Jan. 30-Feb. 3, 2023), Andover (Nov. 10-23, 2023), and Newton (Jan. 19-Feb. 2, 2024). Steep fines, which totaled $900,000 in Newton, and closures’ inevitable harm to students don’t deter the unions from striking. 

The Newton return to work agreement stipulated that teachers would not face “disciplinary action or reprisals for failing to be at work,” sending a message to other Massachusetts Teachers Association members that they will not face short-term consequences for striking. The long-term consequences, of course, will include teacher layoffs to pay for the expensive new collective bargaining agreements.

Massachusetts parents and students are pushing back on strikes. In fact, a Newton parent filed a motion to allow families to seek damages for the strike. Real change won’t happen, though, until Massachusetts expands education freedom options so families can enroll their children in schools free from union demands.

Why do we mention teachers union strikes so often in the weekly teachers union report cards? There is an “emerging pattern of post-pandemic school shutdowns in Democratic-controlled communities,” according to education writer Alexander Russo. There WILL be more strike-induced school closures around the country. Students will suffer.

To learn more about teachers union priorities, read Four Unions That Closed School This Fall, and listen to the Students Over Systems podcast episode, “Corey DeAngelis: Funding Students And Exposing Radical Teachers Unions.”

For more information about teachers unions, check out the IWF Education Freedom Center