COLUMBUS, Ohio — The union representing Columbus teachers unanimously voted to authorize a 10-day notice to strike after weeks of negotiations with Columbus City Schools.
The Columbus Education Association's vote on Thursday doesn't mean a strike is imminent, but it begins the process for the union to use that if necessary.
CEA spokesperson Regina Fuentes said the union has until Aug. 11 to file a notice to strike, but did not say when they intend to do so.
The strike could begin as soon as Aug. 22, which is the first day teacher work day of the school year.
"We don't want to strike, but our students, teachers and community deserve a contract that supports and bolsters learning conditions," Fuentes said.
CCS Board President Jennifer Adair released a statement saying the board is disappointed in the vote. Should the union strike, Adair said the district is "well prepared for an alternate opening should a strike actually take place."
The CCS Board of Education and CEA began negotiations on teachers' contracts back in March. Board President Jennifer Adair said the negotiations teams met on numerous occasions and bargained in good faith for four months.
Some of the issues brought up during the bargaining sessions were pay, improved health insurance, hiring more teachers to reduce class sizes and adding air conditioning to every school building.
Late last week, the CCS Board of Education made the CEA a "final offer" for its pending negotiations. CEA President John Coneglio said there is still more to discuss and doesn't consider the district's offer to be the last one.
"The district gave us a so-called final offer in an attempt to dictate rather than negotiate with us. Our union is going to reject the bullying process and we are going to fight for the Columbus City Schools our students deserve. We've said this over and over again. we'd like the board to come back to the negotiating table,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Board announced it was filing an unfair labor practice charge against the Columbus Education Association for allegedly spreading misinformation about the negotiations between the district and the union.