southeast teachers allow strike if mediation fails
Following the issuance of a 10-day strike authorization notice, teachers in the Southeast Local School District are getting ready for a potential walkout.
The notice was given out on Wednesday night following months of fruitless contract negotiations, according to Monica Kiskadden, a high school government teacher and spokeswoman for the Southeast Local District Teachers Association. Since April 18, the teacher’s union bargaining team has been attempting to reach a new contract agreement but has been unsuccessful. The newest contract ended on June 30.
The SELDTA members overwhelmingly approved allowing their bargaining team to issue a 10-day strike notice should the team decide the district is unwilling to find a path to a fair settlement due to the lack of progress and disrespect from the board’s team, according to a press release from Kiskadden.
Requests for comment from Southeast Superintendent Bob Dunn were not immediately answered. The members of the board of education could not be reached either.
Classes are set to start on August 30.
Achieving consensus, according to Kiskadden, has yielded “little to no progress” on issues like the length of the workday, rising insurance costs, salaries, and student discipline.
103 teachers are covered by the strike notice, but not other unionized employees who are also under an expired contract.
Although they came close in 2003, if Southeast teachers strike, it would be the first such action in the district’s history.
On August 9, both parties will meet with a federal mediator to come to a resolution. The teachers union will meet to discuss the next steps if the problems are not resolved by that time. Teachers are “hopeful we can find a deal or move in the right direction” on that particular day, she stated.
For 24 years, Kiskadden has taught and coached government at Southeast and said she has seen teachers come to the school, gain experience, and then leave for better paying teaching positions elsewhere. The high school is expected to begin the academic year without a French teacher.
According to her, Southeast Local teachers continue to earn the lowest starting salaries of any Portage County School District for newly hired employees and the third lowest for veteran employees. As a result, rather than serving as a destination for educators’ careers, we are increasingly serving as a stepping stone. Although our teachers are passionate about what they do, they also deserve to be able to support their families.
If a deal cannot be reached, teachers intend to attend the school board meeting on August 21. The day following the negotiations, on August 10, the board also set a special meeting. During the negotiations on August 9, SELDTA will host an ice cream social from 2 to 3 p.m. Teachers and members of the community are welcome to attend between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to support the bargaining team.
According to Kiskadden, we want to give Southeast Local students the high-quality education they need. We do not take this decision lightly, but if the administration does not support the remaining talented educators, we will continue to lose them to neighboring districts.
The most recent time that teachers in Streetsboro schools considered striking was in 2020 when a 10-day strike notice was issued. The strike was stopped, though.
Service and support administrators at Portage County DD went on strike in October 2017 for more than a month before calling it off in late November.
Teachers in Ravenna took an 85-day walkout in November 1980, which was finally resolved in April 1981. The strike, which was the longest in American history for teachers, garnered widespread media attention.