National News Roundup

March 30, 1987 1 min read

Field organizers at the National Education Association who walked off the job on June 1 to protest what they said was “bad faith’’ bargaining by the nation’s largest teachers’ union returned to work four days later after reaching a contract agreement with the union’s management.

Barry Abel, a spokesman for the Association of Field Service Employees of the N.E.A., the organization that represents the union’s 63 organizers, said earlier in the week that the group had called the strike because N.E.A. management had entered negotiations with fixed goals and were “not willing to make any movement.’'

“This is bad-faith bargaining,’' he had said. “The N.E.A. pays us to fight like hell to keep [local school-district] management from doing this to its members.’'

Following the settlement, Mr. Abel said: “The N.E.A. believes in unionism. They weren’t acting like it for a while, but they came around.’'

Robert Harman, an N.E.A. spokesman, said the union was “bargaining in good faith throughout the negotiations. The fact that we reached an agreement is evidence of that.’'

The dispute had centered on several issues, including retirement benefits, salary provisions, and compensatory time. Both parties said they were pleased with the settlement.

Members of the A.F.S.E., which is affiliated with the National Staff Organization, walked off the job the day after a three-year contract with the union’s management expired. They were the first group of N.E.A. employees to stage a strike since 1973.

N.E.A. managers, executive staff, and officers crossed the organizers’ picket line, but by the third day of the strike roughly 90 percent of the union’s professional, administrative, and clerical staff stayed home.