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Columbus teachers' union files notice of intent to strike

A strike could occur beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 22 if a contract agreement is not reached with the Columbus school board.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus teachers' union has filed a notice of intent to strike after failing to reach an agreement at their last meeting with the school board.

The Columbus Education Association (CEA) filed the notice with the State Employment Relations Board Thursday, indicating a strike could occur beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 22 if a contract agreement is not reached with the Columbus Board of Education.

“CEA has consistently maintained that we are fighting not just for CEA members, but for our students and community. That is why CEA will continue that fight until a fair agreement is reached for the schools Columbus Students Deserve.” CEA Spokesperson Regina Fuentes said in a statement, “Our educators, students and the entire community deserve a fair contract for CEA.”

Board of Education President Jennifer Adair issued a statement Thursday saying they are ‘deeply troubled’ to learn that CEA filed the notice. You can read her full statement below.

The two sides met on Wednesday for the 20th time but still failed to reach an agreement. For this most recent meeting, a federal mediator was hired as the two continued to struggle to find a resolution.

As part of the bargain, teachers at Columbus City Schools are asking for safer working conditions, smaller class sizes and better wages.

The board said following Wednesday’s meeting that they were ready to consider a “comprehensive counter” to their original offer, which included reducing class sizes, but CEA was unwilling to engage in productive conversation.

In CEA’s statement Wednesday, President John Coneglio responded that the board failed to make any counterproposal and the board made no movement from their initial counter proposal.

No additional meetings have been scheduled between the groups. Columbus schools are slated to start on Aug. 24.

Statement from Board of Education President Jennifer Adair

The Board is deeply troubled to learn that the Columbus Education Association (CEA) filed a notice of intent to strike with the State Employment Relations Board today. Yesterday, we held our 20th negotiating session, and we sought a response from CEA – including a response regarding compensation – to the Board’s offer. Unfortunately, we did not get it.

The Board’s offer is comprehensive, fair, and respectful. It is responsive to specific concerns raised by CEA and includes respectful economic terms. But CEA has continued to refuse to provide a response to all remaining issues. With this lack of good faith efforts by CEA, we believe announcing a strike is premature and a disservice to our school community.

A strike is disruptive and hurts our students more than anyone else. The Board is determined to reach an agreement, and we will continue our preparations for opening day on August 24 in hope that our teachers will be in their classrooms with our students.

Even so, it is important for our students, families, teachers, staff, and community to know we are well prepared with alternate opening plans so that student learning can proceed as it should. We will address all related questions with important details to share soon.

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