School Board Files Unfair Labor Charge for Picketing; Teachers Have a New Contract Offer
Strongsville teachers strike ends third week with flurry of activity
The Strongsville School Board has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Strongsville Education Association for picketing outside board members' homes and workplaces.
Board President David Frazee said the charge indicates that as many as 50 SEA members "engaged in unlawful picketing outside BOE members’ residences and places of employment."
"SEA members impeded vehicles entering and leaving workplaces, intimidated and verbally assaulted co-workers, and substantially disrupted work operations. SEA members carried signs containing disparaging comments about school board members," a news release from the school district says.
The SEA represents striking Strongsville teachers.
The filing also cites O.R.C.4117.11(B)(7) that states, “It is an unfair labor practice for an employee organization, its agents, or representatives, or public employees to: induce or encourage any individual in connection with a labor relations dispute to picket the residence or any place of private employment of any public official or representative of the public employer.”
The board wants the State Employment Relations Board to order the SEA to "cease and desist from inducing and encouraging picketing of BOE members’ residences and places of private employment," and to order SEA to provide at least 10 days' notice before any other picketing.
The district is also seeking to have the SEA pay the legal fees associated with the unfair labor charge.
This is the second unfair labor practice charge filed by the district against the teachers' union. The board also alleged that after a negotiating session Feb. 25, about 100 teachers formed a human barricade to prevent the negotiating team from leaving.
They also pounded on vehicles, jumped on the hood of a car and disrupted the session by entering the building to chant and pound on walls.
Teachers' Union Has New Offer after meeting with Mayor
After meeting with Mayor Tom Perciak Friday morning, the SEA negotiating team came up with a "comprehensive counterproposal to the Last Best Offer" issued by the School Board March 2.
The new offer includes more than $300,000 in proposed savings to the district, including significant additional concessions on insurance and the elimination of future Voluntary Professional Growth raises, an SEA statement says.
The proposal was drafted "based upon the advice and recommendations of Mayor Perciak," the statement said.
“What can I say; while this is the second time we have countered our own counter in order to get the Board to move off of their Last Best Offer, the recommendations of the Mayor went a long way towards convincing us that it was the right thing to do," SEA President Tracy Linscott said. "I just wish the Board would take him up on his offer. If he can convince us to move, I’m sure he could convince the Board to move if only they would come to his office to meet with the teachers.”
The board declined the mayor's offer to have a bargaining session in his office Friday morning.
The board has also said it will stand by its Last Best Offer.
Union Goes to Court for Financial Data
The Ohio Education Association on Thursday sought an order from the Eighth District Court of Appeals to force the school district to comply with requests for financial information.
In a news release, the SEA cites published information that indicates the district is spending more than $581,000 a week on security and substitute teachers during the strike.
The SEA said that appears to be more than it costs to pay teachers.
“It is bad enough that the students have spent three weeks receiving a completely fake education, but to find out this is being done at a greater cost to taxpayers than real school is further evidence of the board’s incompetence," Linscott said in the release.
School Treasurer Deborah Herrmann told Strongsville Patch earlier this month that it costs the district about $1 million a week to pay teachers' wages and benefits.