Strongsville teachers have threatened a strike over contract negotiations. At a meeting of the Strongsville Education Association Feb. 15, the teachers passed a strike authorization vote, which allows the union to issue a legal strike notice at any time.
At the Feb. 7 board of education work session, teachers packed room 104 of the administration building, others chanted outside, and some wore pins that read, “I don’t want to strike, but I will.” That was the first real indication that the SEA had a strike on their minds, but this action speaks even louder.
A release issued by the SEA said that the board of education refuses to negotiate in good faith.
“The board continues to back their employees into a corner with tired negotiating tactics aimed solely at breaking the backs of the teachers’ union,” said the release.
The last contract expired in June 2012, and negotiations began again in the fall after school started.
“By not reaching an agreement after over nine months of bargaining, the board is now forcing us down a very dangerous path that could lead to a work stoppage in the next couple of weeks,” SEA Spokesperson Christine Canning said.
The union has said that they are seeking a “fair” contract. They say they want enough time in school to plan lessons, meet with students, grade papers, respond to parents and handle other duties; manageable class sizes; the ability to attract and retain quality teachers; the continuation of art, music and physical education in the elementary schools; and respect as valued professionals – among other things.
The law states that the specific proposals and conversations taking place within the negotiating sessions must remain private, and therefore no details have been released at this time.
The union has not indicated exactly when they plan to strike. The vote they took and their public actions seem to be letting the administration know that they have the power to do so.
“While going on strike is the last option the teachers want to exercise, it may be the only option remaining to bring an end to the continued patter of outrageous, irresponsible, divisive and malicious behavior by the board,” the release states.
Updates on this situation will continue as they become available.