Nearly 48,000 students’ classes may be disrupted starting Feb. 20 if a contract between a school district in the northwest and the teachers’ association is not finalized by then. The contract dispute involves several issues, but a sticking point between the parties is the size of classes in the district. Other issues surround insurance coverage, wages and the workloads of teachers — all issues with which Florida teachers can relate.
By law, the teachers’ association was required to give the school district no less than 10 days’ notice before going on strike. A contingency plan has been put in place to have classes covered by substitute teachers in the event the strike takes place. Some parents are not supportive of the district using this plan, and several students walked out of their classes to support their teachers.
A scheduling conflict on the part of the mediator delayed the next round of negotiations. The Portland, Oregon school district is willing to add 88 new teachers, but the Portland Association of Teachers says that 176 new teachers are needed. The school district says it needs to keep some money aside for emergencies. The teachers’ association contends that the school district’s budget issues should not be part of the contract negotiations.
Many Florida teachers may appreciate the fact that these teachers are willing to go on strike to receive a contract they believe is fair. Nevertheless, the school district also has an obligation to ensure the district runs smoothly. As would be the case in several other businesses, budgetary concerns may be at the heart of every employment contract dispute.
Source: Reuters, Teachers set strike deadline in contract dispute in Portland, Oregon, Teresa Carson, Feb. 7, 2014