Wayland High School teachers demonstrate for contracts

This morning, on Wednesday, May 10, members of the Wayland Teachers Association (WTA) stood outside of Wayland High School before first block classes to advocate for fair contracts. The same demonstration took place at all other Wayland Public Schools.

The teachers say that by holding the demonstration, they are trying to attract community awareness on their ongoing contract negotiations with the School Committee, in which they are aiming to achieve what they believe to be a fair salary. Today’s action comes after weeks of union members wearing orange WTA shirts every Wednesday in order to raise awareness on the issue.

“Inflation has gone up and our wages have not,” English teacher Sara Snow said. “It’s really hard on a teacher’s salary to make ends meet when inflation [is] going up. The reason why we’re standing here is to show parents that we’re upset. Either parents don’t know what’s going on or they’re not concerned. We want them to know and to be concerned.”

The current contract that WHS teachers have is set to end on June 30, 2023. Members of the WTA, including math teacher Charlene Bishop, have been negotiating with the Wayland School Committee since November for a renewed contract.

“The cost of inflation is 10%,” Bishop said. “We need living wages to increase just overall. We need good working conditions and we want to support our students.”

Bishop, who has been leading contract negotiations with the School Committee, explained that teacher contracts are necessary because of the work teachers have to do outside of school.

“We do a lot outside of contract hours,” Bishop said. “We write college recommendations [and] we supervise before and after school activities. When [teachers] don’t have a contract and are advocating for one, it makes it difficult to do all those extra things. I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but we do a whole lot outside of the contract.”

Members of the WTA believe that members of the community can also help bring awareness to teachers’ efforts.

“[Members of the community can] support us by making sure that they get in touch with [the] School Committee, especially during teacher appreciation week,” Spanish teacher Megan Smith said.

Some WTA members believe that support provided by contracts are crucial to teachers staying in the district.

“Parents in the town are worried about teacher retention and working without a contract really affects teacher retention,” math teacher Deborah Buchman said. “People will be more willing to go to other districts.”

WTA members believe that contract negotiations and support of teachers is essential to upholding the standards in schools.

“We are kind of making our presence known about how much we support the students of this school and how much we believe in the success of Wayland High School,” science department head John Berry said. “We want a fair contract for the work that we do because we love it here. We want to make sure that Wayland High School continues to be the excellent school that it always has [been].”