Revere Educators Call for Paid Parental Leave With Walk-Ins

Special to the Journal

Over 750 Revere educators mobilized and held walk-ins at their school buildings Wednesday as part of a historic coordinated week of action for paid parental leave. The Revere Teachers Association’s demonstrations and walk-ins mirror those of 10 other North Shore districts for this vital benefit.

The Revere Teachers Association’s coordinated week of action marks a crucial push for this benefit in the upcoming contract, saying that world-class public school education, like in Revere, requires modern and equitable benefits for all educators. More than 5,000 North Shore educators are holding walk-ins to raise awareness this week.

In 2018, the Commonwealth provided the Paid Family Medical Leave Act benefits to private sector workers but excluded municipal school employees.

“In Massachusetts, while private sector employees can access the state’s PFMLA for parental leave, our educators are forced to piece together personal and sick days or even face unpaid time to grow their families,” said Jane Chapin, an 7th-grade math teacher and Co-President of the RTA. “This is a profound injustice in a profession dominated by women—it’s time we change the narrative and fully support our educators, enabling them to support the growth of all children.”

As a result of this inequity, public school educators need to use the contract bargaining process to establish paid family leave that is comparable to the benefits afforded private-sector workers.

“Every day, teachers come to work and must navigate under-resourced and under-appreciated classrooms,” said Siobhan Keplin, the music teacher and parent of 2 at Garfield Elementary School. “Despite working for a community that I have loved for 16 years, I experienced two largely unpaid maternity leaves that my family is still recovering from, and I am far from the only one to go through this. My colleagues and I are walking in to raise awareness of this injustice, and in hopes that with a fair contract, no future expectant parent needs to go through what I went through.”

Another Revere educator and expectant mother called for the Revere School Committee to act now to ensure that parents are not faced with difficult choices when caring for their families or when planning to start a family.

“We are happy to come to work and take care of other children. We should be able to have the opportunity to bond with our own children without being deducted sick days or going unpaid” said Rebecca Burke, Special Education Coordinator at the Rumney Marsh Academy and expecting mom. “The school committee can start to solve this problem by agreeing to our proposal. Our ask is simple: 12 weeks of paid parental leave. It is less than what the state offers. That is what is just.”

The RTA is currently negotiating with the Revere School Committee over wages and working conditions for teachers and other educational support professionals. The union’s proposal includes better language, calling for 12 weeks of paid parental leave.

The Revere Teachers Association is the education union representing over 750 teachers, service providers, and other education support professionals.

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