June 27, 2019
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Westbrook teachers protest lack of contract, say they want better ‘working conditions’

CBS 13 | BDN
CBS 13 | BDN
Westbrook school teachers demonstrate to draw attention to their contract status.

WESTBROOK, Maine — Teachers in Westbrook rallied in red for the second time on Wednesday.

They are calling for a new contract with the district.

Teachers stood across from the high school, with people honking in support.

Last week, educators showed up to a school board meeting in red requesting a new contract.

School department employees have been without a contract for almost a year.

Since June 2017, school department employees say they’ve seen no change.

Teachers in Westbrook are stressing they’re not asking for more money, but that they just want fair working conditions.

“We settled on money. It’s all about working conditions. Working conditions, equal learning conditions. And we’re standing up not for ourselves, we’re standing up for the students that we care so much about,” Jared Ruthman, president of Westbrook Education Association, said. “And it’s not just teachers, it’s all of the professionals in this building fighting for this. Our number one priority is ensuring our students get what they need.”

While contract negotiations are in the fact finding stages, teachers say they’re hopeful. The next session is set for June 8.

Westbrook School Committee Chairman Jim Violette said during a meeting this week that the contract impasse “is not personal and nobody should take it as an insult to teachers,” according to KeepMeCurrent.com.

“We appreciate all the work employees do for the district and the fact we have not yet reached an agreement with the teacher negotiators does not change any of that,” said Violette, who also serves as chairman of the school committee’s negotiation committee, according to KeepMeCurrent.com.

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