YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It has been four months since Youngstown teachers first protested at a school board meeting about the lack of cooperation by the board in negotiating a new contract. On Thursday, the negotiations moved to Chaney High School but once again, no deal was made.
Thursday afternoon, Youngstown teachers waived at honking cars and patiently waited outside of Chaney High School, hoping to hear about a new contract. But around 4:30 p.m. — four and a half hours after negotiations began — they were told there was no deal. After which, there were hugs and everyone left.
“We aren’t there yet but we’re always optimistic that something will get done, and hopefully sooner rather than later,” said Youngstown Education Association spokesman Jim Courim.
Courim said contract language is holding up a deal, though he wouldn’t be specific on the language being negotiated. He said the board has budgeted 2% raises, and they’re being negotiated as well.
“Our priority isn’t wages, our priority is this contract language,” Courim said.
Courim said the teachers union came to the table with a small package of proposals.
“We’ve always felt it shouldn’t take as long as it’s taken, but again, there’s things that happen,” Courim said.
Still, a strike vote has been scheduled for Monday, which, if there’s a tentative agreement in place, most likely will not be held.
“I am optimistic that we can get this settled tomorrow. I hope we can get this settled tomorrow. I know we have about 400 teachers looking forward to welcoming our students next week. So we’re hoping to get something settled so we can get that accomplished,” Courim said.
Negotiations will continue Friday at 9 a.m. at Chaney.
Youngstown Superintendent Jeremy Batchelor reiterated what Courim said and he too was hopeful a deal would come on Friday.
The Youngstown School Board has scheduled a special meeting for Friday at 4 p.m. at Chaney to discuss negotiations.