STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – District and union officials at Strongsville schools inked a deal Saturday to end an eight-week teachers strike that tore the small Ohio community in two.
District officials canceled classes today to give replacement teachers a chance to gather their things and say goodbye to students before the district’s regular educators move back in this afternoon. Classes will resume Tuesday, Cleveland.com reports.
Strongsville teachers “overwhelmingly” approved a new contract that restored automatic raises for teachers and prevents reprisals against union employees who participated in the strike. Top salary on the new pay scale is $93,827 for a teacher with 20 years and a Ph.D.
The Strongsville Education Association agreed to increase copays, deductibles, and employees’ monthly contributions for health insurance. Teachers must also pay for their own vision and dental insurance under the new agreement, the news site reports.
It seems like both sides compromised to put an end to the labor dispute, and the new agreement will allow both teachers and administrators to claim minor victories.
For everyone else in Strongsville, the teachers strike was a lose-lose situation. It left a massive wound, and while the new agreement stops the bleeding, it will take years to heal. Students and their parents witnessed teachers behaving like animals, heckling replacement teachers and school board members at their homes and places of employment.
We have no doubt many in the community have lost a degree of respect for teachers who chose picket signs over their students.
The teachers union believed it could squeeze more from the district than the community could afford, and gambled with the education of students for its own gain. The district called the union’s bluff, and the situation ultimately played out in a draw.
For the most part, taxpayers and community activists rallied behind the school board, and the union’s tactics backfired in its face. Even local union officials admit the strike accomplished little.
The new contract “is very similar to where we were 10 months ago,” said Strongsville Education Association President Tracy Linscott, who insists “the board intended to break our union.”
School board president David Frazee told Cleveland.com the board wants “to do all we can to bring our school district and community back together.”
As part of the new contract, school and union officials agreed to renegotiate a new teacher evaluation process before June 1. Hopefully SEA leaders learned something from their failed strike, and won’t try to employ the same type of divisive strategy in round two.