Year's Longest Teacher Strike Settled
Some 700 teachers and school personnel for St. John the Baptist Parish in Reserve, La., reached an agreement with the school board last week, ending the longest school strike in the nation so far this year.
The agreement includes a 5-percent pay raise retroactive to July. Combined with a 5.8-percent increase granted by the board at the beginning of the school year, the settlement will raise employees' overall pay for the year by 10.8 percent.
School employees and board members also agreed to a public referendum that would allow town residents to vote on whether the district's staff members should be allowed to bargain collectively, according to Alvin M. Perret, president of the school board. That issue had emerged as dominant in the 10-week strike.
The agreement also includes a full insurance program for each employee, retroactive to July, and no reprisals against any of the striking employees or their children.
The Louisiana Board of Secondary and Elementary Education also agreed to give the district's 6,500 students a full year's credit for this academic year, despite the school days missed due to the strike.
Other Strike Activity
Strike activity elsewhere continued to dwindle this month, according to National Education Association statistics. Strikes continued as of last week in three Illinois districts, two New Jersey districts, four Pennsylvania districts, and the Muskegon, Mich., school district, where teacher aides have been on strike since Aug. 29.
In Chicago, negotiations are continuing in attempts to avert a strike by 28,000 teachers and an additional 12,000 blue-collar school employees who are threatening to strike if their paychecks are cut. The board of education has proposed a 25-percent cut in medical benefits and a 2-percent pay cut at the end of the year, according to Chuck Burdeen, spokesman for the Chicago Teachers Union.
In another Chicago matter, Schools Superintendent Ruth B. Love last week filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois charging that school board and city government officials conspired to oust her from her $120,000-a-year job.--at