Forbes Road vo-tech teachers schedule strike for Nov. 6

November 9, 2018

Teachers at Forbes Road Career and Technology Center in Monroeville will go on strike on Nov. 6 unless a new contract is approved before then, their union announced Monday.

Teachers had voted “overwhelmingly” on Oct. 3 to authorize a work stoppage, according to the union.

A strike at Forbes Road would affect students at eight school districts.

Forbes Road serves more than 700 students from Allegheny Valley, East Allegheny, Gateway, Highlands, Penn Hills, Plum, Riverview, and Woodland Hills. High school students from those districts can attend Forbes Road on a half-day or full-day basis.

The last three-year contract for the school’s 32 teachers expired on June 30, 2017. Earlier this year, they accepted the terms of a fact finder’s report that would had lead to a new agreement but the school’s joint operating committee did not vote on the report, which, under state law, is the same as rejecting it.

The state Department of Education will calculate how long the strike can last once it receives notification of a work stoppage, department spokesman Eric Levis said. Teachers will be required to return to work so that students get 180 days of instruction by June 15.

A bargaining session has been scheduled for the day before the strike, on Nov. 5.

The union says it asked for the help of a state-appointed mediator in the negotiations before the deadline.

“We are ready and willing to sit down with the school at any time prior to Nov. 6 in order to reach a settlement” said George Karnbauer, president of the Forbes Road Career & Technology Center Education Association.

“We call upon the school to prepare a proposal for us to consider,” he said. “Our members deserve no less than an equitable and adequate proposal from the school for their consideration. We ask the board to come back to the table to finalize these negotiations.”

Forbes Road Director Edward McMullen could not be reached for comment Monday.

Frank Pearsol, an East Allegheny school board member and president of the Forbes Road joint operating committee, did not respond to a request for comment placed through East Allegheny administration.

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