Welcome to the home to United Teachers of Lowell's Straight Talk podcast. Each Wednesday we'll post a new interview with useful news and information for our members. We hope you'll come back each week to learn what's new! 

Episode 19: A Conversation With AFT-MA President Beth Kontos

Episode 19: A Conversation With AFT-MA President Beth Kontos

As our members know, United Teachers of Lowell 495, or UTL represents about 1,700 teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians, cafeteria workers, and security guards serving across the Lowell Public Schools. What some may not realize is that we are part of two larger groups - American Federation of Teachers, or AFT and AFT-MA, our state organization. It is through these larger organizations that our members’ voices are represented not only in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but across the United States.

Today we had the honor of speaking with newly-elected AFT-MA President, Beth Kontos about some of the issues concerning our members here in Lowell and beyond.

Beth Kontos is one of us. After finding a second career in education, Beth taught for a short time in Lynn, MA and the majority of her teaching career at Salem High School in Salem, Massachusetts. Through her commitment to the Salem Teachers Union, Beth became that local’s President in 2015 and served in that capacity until being elected AFT-MA President in the Spring of 2018. Beth understands the challenges of classrooms here in Massachusetts because she has been there.

We have been thinking about the issues that impact our schools here in Lowell. After listening to Beth’s interview, we invite and encourage you to participate in a 5-minute SurveyMonkey survey found on this link. The survey, solicits your opinion about some of the issues we hear about most frequently here in Lowell and will help us know where to prioritize our focus in the months ahead.


  • Our SurveyMonkey survey can be found here. We’d encourage participants to complete the survey before the end of November.

  • AFT-MA website with information about what AFT-MA can offer our members is found here. AFT-MA also maintains a presence on Social Media (Facebook and Twitter).

  • AFT National website can be found here.

  • As Beth mentioned, she was interviewed shortly after being elected President of AFT-MA. The BostonGlobe interview is found here and an interview in the Salem News is found here.

Thanks again to Beth Kontos for speaking with us today. Her message of empowerment and engagement for all of our members is critically important to all of us.

Thank you to all of our listeners for tuning in to this Episode. We welcome your general comments and feedback. If you have suggestions for future podcasts or if you are aware of a UTL member who might be willing share expertise and experiences, please email us at

And of course, if you enjoy our podcasts, be sure to spread the word - or share with a friend (or two).

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Episode 20: Spotlight on Rachel Crawford & Laura Schofield

Episode 20: Spotlight on Rachel Crawford & Laura Schofield

Episode 18: Spotlight on Holly Fleury

Episode 18: Spotlight on Holly Fleury