STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – Concerned Strongsville residents will hold a press conference today to discuss 61 Strongsville teachers who reportedly want to cross the picket line and end their involvement in an ugly strike that has torn the community to shreds.
The Strongsville Community Action Committee, which represents residents opposed to the self-centered strike, also announced it plans to release documents revealing “misinformation” spread by the Strongsville Education Association and its parent union, the National Education Association, WKYC.com reports.
“We have been working with these members and the administration to see that this feat is accomplished for the betterment of our community,” SCAC President Erica Leslie said of teachers who allegedly want to return to work.
Leslie gave no indication of how her group found out about the teachers who want to return to work.
The SCAC (community action committee) has set up a website, strikefacts.com, to help the community understand the union’s demands and the district’s financial situation, and has helped organize rallies against the strike since it began March 4.
Meanwhile, a local arbitrator has offered to help settle the strike for free, and while union officials are champing at the bit to take him up on his offer, school leaders haven’t agreed.
The union previously attempted to convince the school board to turn over negotiations to an outside third party and agree to binding interest arbitration, but school board members rightly refused. Now, the union’s trying again.
“Both the SEA and the Board of Education were recently approached by veteran arbitrator Marvin J. Feldman who has offered his services to settle the eight-week strike,” the union wrote in a recent press release, according to WKYC.com. “While the SEA has accepted his offer, the Board has yet to respond.”
Perhaps that’s because the school board currently has a big upper hand in negotiations.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports teachers stopped receiving health insurance and pay when they walked out on students in March. The deadline for teachers to sign up for replacement COBRA insurance coverage is May 6.
“Those teachers who have either already enrolled or who are planning on enrolling will have to pay 100 percent of their regular monthly premium, which is up to nearly $1,700 a month per family,” the newspaper reports.
So there’s going to be a lot of pressure on teachers to end the strike before it becomes too expensive on a personal level. That means the board might be smart to sit and wait them out.