#1 in the nation for teacher strikes

Related story: "The 28 labor-states" • More strike stories: here

Labor-state surpassed by none

Pennsylvania teachers were granted the right to strike in 1970. And strike they did to the tune of 775 work stoppages between 1970 to 1991, according to Pennsylvania School Board Association figures.

State lawmakers passed Act 88 in 1992, which preserved the teachers' right to strike but set some limits that would ensure a 180-day school year would be completed by June 30.

Pennsylvania is one of a dozen states that allow teacher strikes, but the high number of impasses has not motivated Harrisburg to make changes in a union state where collective bargaining is considered by many to be an ingrained right.
"Historically, there's been no appetite on the part of the Legislature -- Republicans or Democrats -- or any governor to take away the right to strike," said former state Rep. Ron Cowell.
Locally, the Saucon Valley School District teachers are heading into a second week of picketing. The union will be forced to enter nonbinding arbitration by Oct. 17 if the labor dispute is not resolved.
"Saucon Valley teachers are making it increasingly difficult for legislators who have been supportive of their ability to strike to continue to be supportive," said state Rep. Karen Beyer, R-Lehigh/Northampton.
Beyer, a district resident and former school board president, calls herself a champion for teachers and education. But she says the strike leaves her scratching her head since the 4.7 percent salary raise offer is so generous.


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