Strikes Continue in Three States, Students Back in Girard, Ohio
Undated (AP) _ Strikes by teachers in Michigan, Illinois and Pennsylvania kept 50,200 children out of class Thursday, while a walkout ended in Ohio and professors at Michigan college threatened a job action if a contract is not reached by next week.
Strikes by 1,939 teachers in Flint, Linden and Beecher, Mich., kept more than 35,700 students out of class. In Pennsylvania, strikes by 274 teachers closed schools for 4,600 students in the Bellwood-Antis and Montour districts.
Pickets were up at the Wheaton-Warrenville District 200 in Illinois, where a strike by 540 teachers has idled 9,900 students and forced cancellation of two high school football games.
″I’m very upset,″ said Wheaton North Coach Jim Rexilius. ″It’s going through my mind to quit coaching and teaching.″
Negotiations were held in Flint and Linden on Thursday, but no agreements were reached. Contract talks in Beecher were scheduled to resume Friday.
The 1,860 students in Girard, Ohio, reported to school Thursday after a strike by 96 teachers, who settled Wednesday night, delayed the start of the new term by three days.
A state mediator was summoned to negotiations Thursday between faculty and administrators of Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.
The 350-member faculty, represented by the American Association of University Professors, voted Wednesday night to authorize a strike if a tentative agreement is not reached before the scheduled start of classes on Tuesday, said association spokesman Edward Heubel.
An in-service day for 166 teachers in the Peters Township, Pa., school system was canceled Thursday when the instructors set up pickets. Superintendent B.G. Lauda said the chance of a settlement before the scheduled start of classes for 2,600 students Tuesday ″doesn’t look good.″
In Philadelphia, no progress was reported in continuing contract talks between the school district and the 19,000-member Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, whose contract expires at midnight Saturday.
The Chicago Teachers Union and the city school board agreed to ask for federal mediation in their stalemated talks. A Sept. 3 deadline has been set for what would be Chicago’s third strike in as many years, affecting 431,000 students.
Negotiators in Flint returned to the bargaining table for six hours Thursday after the school board Wednesday night rejected the teacher union’s proposal to end the strike, said Hal Keim, president of the Michigan Education Association local that represents the state’s second-largest district.
Union and school board negotiators in Linden met with a state mediator Thursday, but no progress was made, union officials said. Linden teachers rejected a tentative contract Tuesday.
Talks were scheduled for Friday between Beecher school officials and teachers, said Jacquie Koplin, the union vice president. Teachers struck after district bargainers exercised a clause in the Beecher contract to reopen talks, she said.
Another 69 districts in Michigan remained without teacher contracts Thursday, said Katie Keatts, an MEA spokeswoman.
New strike notices were filed with Illinois officials by Winola District 202, Villa Park District 45, Hazel Crest Distict 1521/2 , West Chicago District 33, and Alton District 11, Education Labor Relations Board spokeswoman Lynne Padovan said Thursday.
Earlier this month, notices were filed in Illinois by Wheaton-Warrensville, Chicago, Barrington District 220, Glenbard High School District 87, Charleston District 1, Flora Elementary District 35 and Goreville Elementary District 18.
New York officials said they did not expect that any teacher strikes would postone the start of classes next month for the state’s 731 school districts.
While Buffalo and Yonkers were described as being in ″extremely intensive negotiations,″ Erwin Kelly, director of conciliation for the state Public Employment Relations Board, said he was ″cautiously confident″ that all schools would open on schedule.
Kelly said 93 New York districts were at an impasse, as well as the community colleges in Jefferson and Orange counties.