After contract discussions with the school board stalled, teachers in Columbus, Ohio, which is home to the state’s largest school district, went on strike on Monday in support of requests for smaller class sizes and more building safety.
Two days before the start of the new school year, the teachers’ union, the Columbus Education Association, issued a statement on its website stating that its educators and school communities are on strike for our students. The union decided to strike on Sunday, and as of Monday am, it will be on the picket line.
According to the union, the school board left the negotiating table on July 28 and has resisted accepting clauses in a contract that would guarantee Columbus students necessities like air conditioning, reasonable class sizes, and full-time art, music, and physical education teachers in elementary schools.
The Columbus Education Association’s bargaining team has been in negotiations for months in an effort to come to an agreement, but Columbus City Schools has continued to disregard community concerns and make investments in our schools that will enhance the learning environment for our students, according to the statement.
According to The union said on Twitter Sunday night, 94% of its members voted to reject the most recent offer from the school board and initiate a strike for the first time since 1975. More than 4,000 teachers and other education workers are represented by the union.
The unions’ decision to strike, which the system estimates serves about 47,000 children, was tremendously upsetting, according to the president of the board of education at Columbus City Schools on Sunday.
In a statement, Jennifer Adair stated, “We are grieved by the horrible predicament our family, our community, and, most especially, our children now face.”
Adair claimed that the board provided teachers with a generous remuneration package and policies that would enhance learning environments.
We also addressed the issues that CEA brought up during the negotiation process, she added, in our offer. Children in our community are the Board’s top priority, and our offer reflected that.
According to Adair, classes will resume on Wednesday, thus despite the current situation, kids will continue their education and support of students by learning online. The board made no more mention of how it would staff its pupils’ online learning.
We appreciate and respect our teachers, and we’ll keep working together to find the greatest solutions for our kids, she said.
On its website, the school board announced that it will convene an urgent meeting on Monday night. The union tweeted that it hoped members of its membership would attend a protest outside the board meeting.