Friday, May 5, 2023
On Sunday, April 23, hundreds of union workers, labor leaders and Lawrence school district community members braved some rainy, chilly weather to rally and march in support of the Lawrence Teachers Association (LTA). Members of the Levittown United Teachers (LUT) were an important part of this group.
The LTA has been working hard for the children of the Lawrence School District for the past 12 years without the benefit of a new contract. Their efforts to reach a settlement have been thwarted because some members of the Lawrence School District Board of Education are intent on breaking the LTA union and forcing them to accept contract terms that are in no way in line with those of comparable surrounding districts. The impasse in contract talks has reached a point where the LTA has had no choice to but to file a lawsuit against the Lawrence School Board alleging bad faith negotiations.
One of the major sticking points in contract talks has been an insistence by the Lawrence Board of Education to have the LTA agree to eliminate from their contract a provision on class size. In an interview she gave during the rally, LTA President, Rachel Kreiss, said, “Studies show that having a smaller class size truly enables students to perform better and their outcomes are better. We refuse to give up on class size.”
Members of the LUT joined with members of locals from both Nassau and Suffolk County to take part in this event. They were joined by representatives from state and national unions, including New York State United Teachers Executive Director, Melinda Person and American Federation of Teachers President, Randi Weingarten. Participants marched up and down Central Avenue in Lawrence with signs and noise makers, making it known to the Lawrence Community that, as the saying goes, an injury to one is an injury to all.
The hope is that because of the rally, residents of the Lawrence community will compel their Board of Education to get back to the bargaining table and offer the LTA a contract that compensates the members of the LTA fairly for their work and maintains both working conditions and class size limits. Good luck to the LTA. The LUT supports you!