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R.I. Judge Orders Halt to Providence Strike

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Teachers in Providence, R.I., ended their strike last week after a state supreme court justice ordered a settlement.

Under the terms of the temporary agreement, the district's 1,588 teachers returned for orientation Sept. 14 and classes were scheduled to resume the following day.

The teachers had complained that the city was trying to downgrade their health-care plan.

However, Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. said the sticking point in negotiations had been the teachers' request for lifetime health-care coverage for their families.

That offer, the mayor told the teachers, was part of an early-retirement plan that had already expired. (See Education Week, Sept. 13, 1995.)

Justice Joseph R. Weisberger ordered the teachers' union and the school district to continue negotiations and report back to him on Oct. 11.

Meanwhile, teachers were ordered to pay the difference between the costs of their existing health plan and the new plan proposed by the city, according to Doreen Picozzi, a spokeswoman for the mayor.

Elsewhere, teachers in southeastern Pennsylvania's Spring Ford district continued a strike last week that began Sept. 11. The district's 275 teachers were protesting what they called the lowest salaries in Montgomery County, outside Philadelphia.

And in Steubenville, Ohio, teachers continued negotiations but approved a resolution to strike by Sept. 19 if key issues are not settled by then, said Bill Pearsol, the strike coordinator for the district's 174 teachers.

In the Newport, R.I., district, some 300 teachers reached an agreement with the district, ending a strike that began Sept. 6. The teachers returned to school on Sept. 15.

A strike also came to an end in Monroe Township, N.J., where the district's 300 teachers resolved their dispute and returned to work on Sept. 8.

--Jeanne Ponessa

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