Mt. Pleasant teachers issue strike notice
Mt. Pleasant Area School District teachers who have been working without a contract for the last year issued a strike notice this week after failing to reach an agreement during their 15th negotiating session.
The Mt. Pleasant Area Education Association, which represents 143 teachers, counselors, nurses and school psychologists, said it is not planning to strike prior to the Aug. 26 start of school.
The notice merely means the union has voted to give its leaders the authority to call a work stoppage should they deem it necessary.
Negotiations have grown increasingly contentious since last fall, when the school board declined to accept the recommendations of a 56-page fact finder’s report that weighed heavily in favor of the union’s position.
The two sides remain deeply divided.
“We made offer after offer after offer, and they’ve refused everything. They don’t want to pay anything more in hospitalization and we’re at an impasse,” board President John Sarnese said.
Negotiators for the school board have sought additional contributions from union members who now pay $60 a month or $720 a year to offset the cost of family health care packages that cost the district approximately $16,000 a year.
Union President Terri Remaley said the district’s offers are unacceptable. It “expects our members to pay to come to work,” she said.
In addition to standing firm on health care, Remaley said the union is seeking concessions from the district on class size, supplies and policies that would support attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers.
“We feel that our offers for settlement are fair and reasonable to the taxpayers, district, and to our members,” she said.
Mt. Pleasant teachers last hit the picket lines 40 years ago.
In a post on its Facebook page, the teachers’ union, which was largely successful in efforts to nominate a new slate of members for the school board last spring, reminded supporters to continue their efforts.
“We appreciate the support that our community continues to show us and we’d like to remind you to put your signs back out as we head to the general election on Nov. 5, 2019. Make sure to get to the polls that day to elect pro-public education candidates,” the message reads.
Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .