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Haverhill schools will close Thursday for fourth consecutive day as negotiations for new teachers contract continue

Striking Haverhill public school teachers outside of Haverhill City Hall on Oct. 18.Jim Davis/Globe Staff/file

Schools in Haverhill will close for a fourth consecutive day on Thursday as the school committee and the Haverhill Education Association remain mired in negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement, though both sides indicated some progress has been made, officials said.

Haverhill Public Schools announced Thursday’s closure in a Facebook post as the sides were still negotiating late Wednesday night. In the Facebook post, officials said they were hopeful a deal would be reached, but both sides eventually stepped away for the night without an agreement.

Negotiations are expected to resume Thursday morning.

The union and the school committee have agreed on financial terms but are stalled on language in the contract involving school safety, officials said.


“It is evident by what we’re addressing that what we’re doing is the right thing, because while we have a tentative agreement on money, we don’t have any agreement on language to keep students safe,” Timothy Briggs, president of the Haverhill Education Association, told reporters outside the union’s headquarters Wednesday night, according to video from WHDH.

School committee member Scott Wood told reporters that the committee “has accepted the union’s financial proposal, which totals approximately $25 million,” according to a recording of his remarks by WHDH.

“We believe this contract will put the Haverhill teachers on par with teachers in similar urban school districts,” Wood said. “We still remain stuck on language related to administrative processes.”

Haverhill teachers were on strike for a third day Wednesday, despite a court injunction ordering them to stop. Public employees in Massachusetts, including teachers, are barred from striking.

The Haverhill School Committee and the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board secured a temporary restraining order late Monday afternoon from an Essex County Superior Court judge requiring teachers to end the strike. Following a hearing Tuesday at Essex County Superior Court in Newburyport, Judge James Lang issued an injunction, ordering all teachers to report back to work and union leaders to stop encouraging any strike activity.


If the strike persists, the Haverhill Education Association could be held in civil contempt of the court for violating the injunction, and forced to pay fines.

Meanwhile, teachers in Malden on Wednesday voted to ratify a new three-year contract after a deal was struck following a one-day strike.

Material from previous Globe stories was used in this report.

Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico.