Labor News Roundup

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Teachers' strikes in Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey, and Michigan kept more than 300,000 students home from school last week.

As of Wednesday, settlements had been reached in Upper Saddle River, N.J., and at the Nazareth Regional High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. But teachers in two New Jersey districts, Teaneck and Waldwick, remained on strike.

One settlement was reported in Pennsylvania, but 20 districts remained on strike.

In Illinois, teachers walked out in Bremen, a 5,800-student district outside Chicago, and in McLeansboro, in the extreme southeastern corner of the state. In Chester, a town on the Mississippi River in southwestern Illinois, teachers continued their "sick-out," with 20 percent of the staff failing to report for work each day.

Brian A. Braun, a lawyer for the Illinois Association of School Boards, noted that settlements this year are slower than usual, and said that he expected at least one more strike by the weekend. Two other districts, he added, are "on the critical list."

By midweek, 19 teacher walkouts had ended in Michigan, leaving Detroit--with 200,000 students--the state's only district closed by a strike. Detroit teachers and the school board turned to a fact-finder to help end the walkout. (See story on Page 4.)

Teachers in Lincoln, Neb., have rejected the school board's contract offer for the first time since 1969, when the city's teachers won formal collective-bargaining rights.

As of last week, the school board had voted to make a final effort to negotiate a settlement before taking the case to the state Commission on Industrial Relations, which sets salaries based on pay in comparable districts.

Teachers in the state's second largest school system will work under their current 1981-82 contract until the issue is resolved, schools officials said.

The school board had offered an 8.6-percent increase in its budget for teachers' salaries and fringe benefits.

The Lincoln Education Association maintained that the board could afford to use some of its surplus funds for a larger increase.

After the vote to reject the school board's offer, Stan Sibley, president of the teachers' association, said he would ask the board to return to the bargaining table.

The teachers earlier rejected a board proposal for third-party factfinding. A federal mediator was then named but left the talks after two sessions.

Vol. 02, Issue 04

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