Summer vacation starts next week, but looking ahead to fall, the union that represents Columbus City Schools teachers, voted to authorize a 10-day strike vote in case negotiations over a new contract break down this summer.
In a video posted on the CEA Facebook page, union president John Coniglio told members the vote sends the message that teachers are prepared to fight for key issues.
“...including reduced class sizes and case loads; adequate staffing of student support professionals; dedicated space for art, music and P.E.; expanding alternative programs for discipline; reducing turnover by compensating educators as professionals, and funding schools and saving taxpayers money, by ending handouts for wealthy corporations that don’t need them.”
Coniglio, who was elected last year, has railed against city tax abatements that he says take money out of the classroom. He says talks with district officials have been productive and another meeting is scheduled for this week. But he says Tuesday’s vote empowers the union’s governing body to issue the 10-day strike notice if talks reach an impasse. Both sides say they continue to bargain in good faith. A federal mediator has been assigned to assist with the talks if necessary.
Columbus Schools contract with teachers expires this summer. The last contract held pay raises to 1.5% and 1% over two years. Teachers reluctantly approved the contract, but also voted no confidence in the school board.