15 Sep 2014
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STA Files Class-Action Lawsuit Against Town of Stoughton, School Committee

The suit alleges withholding of step increases and seeks $1.5 million in damages.

STA Files Class-Action Lawsuit Against Town of Stoughton, School Committee

The Stoughton Teachers Association on Friday filed a class-action lawsuit against the town of Stoughton and the Stoughton School Committee for non-payment of wages, STA officials said. 

In the suit, the STA claims that the withholding of step increases is in violation of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 149, Section 148, and the lawsuit names the town of Stoughton, the Stoughton School Committee, Stoughton Superintendent Marguerite Rizzi and Town Manager Michael Hartman as defendants. 

The lawsuit, moreover, seeks damages owed "under the statute including payment of step increases plus triple damages and attorney costs," with the expected total damages amounting to about $1.5 million, STA officials said. 

"As part of the teacher contract settlement, we agreed to waive $50,000 in interest payments ordered by the Department of Labor Relations, withdraw other pending unfair labor practice charges and not move forward with the lawsuit," STA President and South School Elementary Teacher Andrea Pires said in a statement. "Teachers were willing to forego the $1.5 million in damages. It was reckless and irresponsible of Dr. Brown, Ms. Husseini and Mr. Hartman to have voted down this contract." 

Last month May, Stoughton teachers voted to ratify the STA contract, but the Stoughton School Committee did not subsequently vote in favor of the contract, deadlocking the vote at 3-3, according to the STA

Discussions on the STA's contract have been ongoing, with the STA holding a rally outside of Stoughton High School in December before a planned appearance at the Stoughton School Committee's meeting; the Stoughton School Committee later  asked the STA to have an open meeting in January regarding negotiations.

For more information and updates on the lawsuit and contract developments, follow the STA on Facebook

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