ANDOVER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Massachusetts Labor Relations Board has ruled that Andover teachers participated in an illegal strike when they refused to enter a school building last week, and instead worked from a parking lot.
The Andover School Committee filed a petition with the Department of Labor requesting an investigation into a strike on September 1, a day after the educators started their in-person professional development training days outside.
According to president of the Massachusetts Teachers' Association Merry Najimy, the refusal to enter the buildings was not a strike; all the Andover teachers want is information on the condition of their school buildings.
"The educators showed up in the parking lot with their laptops, they were connected online, they did their work, in some schools the Principle came out to the school yard where they conducted their faculty meeting," she said. "That's work. That's not a strike."
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Governor Charlie Baker said he believed the Labor Board's decision was correct. He said the Board's position, which is "that it's ok to work and basically be in an empty building," was an appropriate one.
"I think Andover made the right decision by arguing that a deal is a deal," Baker said. "There was an agreement that those ten days would be spent conducting the training that was necessary, for however that school district was going back in, and I applaud their decision. I think it was the right one."
Najimy said Gov. Baker should have called for a virtual start to school a month ago, in order to send a clear message across the state about how to safely return to classrooms.
WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal reports:
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