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Boston Teachers Stage One-Day Strike in Contract Dispute

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Members of the Boston Teachers' Union staged a one-day walkout last week over their contract dispute with the district, forcing school officials to cancel classes for the city's 60,000 public school students.

Superintendent Lois Harrison-Jones declared Oct. 27 a professional-development day just before the job action began, and children were told not to report to any of the 117 schools, said Larry Faison, a spokesman for the district.

Teachers who failed to show up for work will have their pay docked, he added.

More than 4,000 teachers took part in the one-day walkout by picketing at schools and holding a rally at city hall.

The union is protesting the school committee's decision not to approve a package that would increase teachers' salaries by 11 percent over three years and offer additional performance-pay incentives. (See Education Week, Oct. 27, 1993.)

The committee says the pact is too expensive and short on reform.
The state's labor-relations commission had ordered the union to cancel the walkout, and the school committee had said it would not reopen talks unless the union followed that order.

School officials have indicated that they may seek punitive damages from the union on behalf of parents who lost wages or had additional child-care expenses due to the walkout.

City agencies were asked to extend the hours of community and day-care centers in the district so working parents would have somewhere to send their children, Mr. Faison said.

A judge has directed the union and the school committee to return to the bargaining table this week.

If no settlement is reached by Nov. 12, teachers are expected to launch a full-scale strike.

Settlement in D.C.

Meanwhile, District of Columbia school officials and the teachers' union have settled a longstanding dispute over salaries.

The Washington Teachers' Union, the school board, and the city council last week approved a package that gives teachers a total of 11 percent in retroactive pay hikes.

Negotiations between the union and the district had stalled last month when the union rejected the pact because it offered only retroactive increases for the last two years.

The union had adopted a work-to-the-rule policy, refusing to perform any duties outside the regular school day until an agreement was reached.

Elsewhere, four teachers' strikes continued and two new strikes began last week, in small districts in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and New Jersey, according to the National Education Association.

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