8/30/07

Teachers ready to strike, cancel football season

After meeting for five and a half hours Wednesday night, the Barnesville (OH) Board of Education and its teachers union still have not come to terms for a new contract. That means a strike date set for Wednesday, September 5 still stands.

The school board and leaders with the Barnesville Education Association met at Barnesville Middle School while a mediator carried contract proposals and counterproposals back and forth between the two parties. At one point, the union had offered to rescind its strike notice and go into a "cooling-off" period if the board would agree to bring an arbitrator into the talks. The board rejected that proposal.

Union president Denise Leach told NEWS9 that health care remains the largest sticking point in the talks. Superintendent Randy Lucas agreed that the two sides still disagree on health care costs. Lucas told NEWS9 the board hopes to reach an agreement in one final meeting set for Tuesday, September 4, one day before the strike date.

Lucas told NEWS9 the board has authorized him to hire replacement teachers in the event of a strike. If football coaches honor the picket lines, Lucas said he would have to consider canceling the Barnesville High School football season.

(wtov9.com)

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