Akron Teachers Strike; 34,000 Students Shut Out of Class
AKRON, Ohio (AP) _ Some 2,000 teachers went on strike today, closing the city’s 34,000-student school system.
The walkout began after talks failed to produce a new contract.
Officials said they planned to keep the schools closed for the duration of the strike but would re-evaluate the decision on a day-to-day basis.
Negotiators had agreed to continue talks past a midnight strike deadline, but mediator David Thorley said the teachers walked out because the two sides were nearly as far apart today as they were when the session began Tuesday morning.
The mediator said he would call for another session in a few days.
The chief issue dividing the two sides is pay.
The union asked for a 3 percent raise the first year of a three-year contract and raises of at least 4 percent in the second and third years. The board offered 2.5 percent the first year, 3.2 percent the second and 4 percent the third.
About two dozen teachers picketed early today at some of the district’s larger buildings, said Janna Bruner, union secretary-treasurer.
Striking teachers did not impede other employees from entering, said Joann Robb, a district spokeswoman. ″Everyone’s behaving like professionals,″ she said.