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Union educators face pay uncertainty as teacher strike continues

Orlando Christian
NTA members rally at City Hall on the eleventh day of strike Monday, Jan. 30.

Despite not working for the last eight school days due to the Newton Teachers Association (NTA) strike, union educators are slated to receive their biweekly paycheck tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 31. 

According to English teacher Mike Schlegelmilch, teachers are typically paid around the middle and end of each month. The upcoming paycheck will cover their work during the initial weeks of January.

Schlegelmilch added that a few days before receiving their paychecks, teachers are sent an email detailing their earnings for the specified period and the expected deposit after taxes. While tomorrow’s paycheck is assured, concerns arise about the subsequent one, which will cover the period that teachers have been on strike.

“It’s the next paycheck that teachers are worried about because then we will really see if they’re not paying us,” said Monique Airasian, an NTA member.

The uncertainty surrounding paychecks is causing stress for many educators who are beginning to feel the financial strain, according to Jocelyn Conley, an NTA member.

“A lot of teachers are very anxious about how they are going to pay their bills or buy groceries and gas,” added Conley.

To address financial hardships, the NTA has established a committee focused on identifying and assisting members facing the most significant financial challenges without a paycheck, said Shlegelmilch. “We have organized a strike fund to make payments to those members so that they can take care of their basic needs, such as food, housing, and diapers,” he added.

Despite the paycheck uncertainty, educators find support within the NTA and among colleagues, according to Airasian, “We are motivated to be here because it’s the right thing to do, and even if it takes a long time, it’s the best thing for the schools, our students, our colleagues, and each other.” 

Schlegelmilch added that within the NTA, “there’s so much trust in one another, and everyone knows that we are going to take care of each other.”

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