10/31/07

Pittsburgh teachers union prepared to strike

Teachers in the Pittsburgh Public Schools voted to authorize a future strike if a contract deal is not reached. It would be the first time in 30 years teachers would be on the picket lines.

The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers voted overwhelmingly Monday to authorize a strike. That does not necessarily mean there will be one. Workers have been without a contract since June 30. Sticking points include health benefits, salaries and the length of the school day.

Parent Debra Coleman-Tiller said, "I would hope that they would be able to come to some compromise before we get to the point where they do go on strike." "It's tough on the kids but teachers deserve their just due too. They have a tough job,” parent Dave Boncek said.

Superintendent Mark Roosevelt released this statement: "We remain committed to a settlement that honors the good work of our teachers without endangering the district's financial health or obligating us to raise taxes, which we adamantly oppose doing."

The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers President John Tarka stated, "This expression of support by the PFT membership for the union's efforts is extremely significant and valuable. PFT members recognize that the PFT's primary objective is to attain agreement with the district without disruption. At the same time, the union leadership must be able to recommend a package for ratification by the membership, and more work needs to be done before that can happen."

Pittsburgh teachers have not gone on strike in 31 years. They are the seventh-highest paid teachers in Allegheny County.

The two sides will meet for another negotiating session at the end of the week. Meanwhile, classes will go on as scheduled Tuesday.

(wpxi.com)

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