EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WYTV) – Teachers in East Liverpool soon could be on the picket line after rejecting the Board of Education’s last best offer and authorizing the issuance of a 10-day strike notice.
The East Liverpool Education Association and the East Liverpool Board of Education have been attempting to negotiate an agreement since the last one expired Aug. 31. The ELEA represents approximately 185 teachers.
Both sides have been working with a federal mediator to reach a settlement. However, ELEA spokeswoman Trisha Hutton said Superintendent Melissa Watson and the Board of Education decided to issue a “last packaged offer” on March 27.
She said the offer was extended without allowing discussion or the opportunity for the ELEA to present the proposals they had prepared for that negotiation session. The offer was presented after less than two hours of meeting on March 27, Hutton said.
On Thursday afternoon, all union members unanimously voted to reject the board’s last offer, Hutton said.
“It is clear that Superintendent Watson and the Board would rather disregard and devalue our teachers than work with us in a respectful and collaborative manner to address the issues facing our district. Our students and our community deserve better. The ELEA membership spoke very clearly tonight, with this vote. We do not want to fight, we want to return to the table and negotiate a fair contract,” Hutton said in a news release.
She also said that on April 1, the Board of Education passed a resolution to implement the last offer, which prompted the union to unanimously vote to authorize the bargaining unit to issue a 10-day strike notice.
“As a membership, we do not want to strike, however we do want to empower our negotiations team with the ability to take whatever action is needed at this point to achieve a fair contract. Our real desire is for Board to return to the table to negotiate in good faith with the ELEA,” Hutton said.