It’s never a good sign in a negotiation when someone calls the cops.
On Thursday morning, according to School Committee Chair Chris Brezski, things seemed to be going in a positive direction at the bargaining table. Then things unraveled, people started shouting, and someone called the police to report a possible fight.
“The mediator came down to our room, handed us all the nose, and we gave him an earful,” Michael Zilles shrugged at a press conference outside the Education Center Thursday night. “That’s what happened. And then somebody called the police.”
There was no physical altercation—just very loud arguing—but Brezski later said that the tensions spilled over to City Hall when several union members tried to get into Mayor Ruthanne Fuller’s office to speak to her directly.
Zilles, said members did go to see Fuller, but they didn’t try to storm in.
Newton police officers were inside the Education Center Thursday night, while Fuller and Breszki gave their side of the day’s events.
“Our teachers are passionate,” Fuller said about the NTA members showing up at her office.
“What they did today was not role-modeling what I think our adults should be doing here in Newton.,” she continued, adding that she was in a meeting with the commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Culture at the time. “They pushed past the office staff, they crowded down the hall in front of my office, they started pounding on the door.”
Brezski said progress in negotiations from the day before broke down on Thursday afternoon.
“We understand how hard this is for families. It’s hard on my family,” a visibly exhausted, almost shaken, Brezski said. “I know it’s hardest on families who are most vulnerable, and kids who are most vulnerable. We are doing everything. We are doing everything we can to end this and get our kids back [in school].”
Outside at NTA press conference, teacher Ryan Normandin threw the gloves off and said the School Committee has “no interest in negotiating.”
“The School Committee will not even look us in the face while they spit on us,” Normandin shouted into the cold winter air.
Normandin accused the School Committee and Mayor Fuller of rejecting every proposal the NTA offers as a stall tactic while the courts issue fines and other punishments.
“The school Committee toes the line, eating up the lies of Mayor Ruthanne Fuller, because they are too cowardly to challenge her, a woman who does not deserve to hold the title of mayor,” he continued, at one point referring to Fuller as a “make-believe mayor who refuses to talk to anything that’s not a camera.”
Needless to say, negotiations did not produce a deal, so there’s no school on Friday.