Detroit Teachers, Board Tentatively Approve Pact

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Teachers in Detroit reached a tenative agreement in contract negotiations last Thursday, possibly bringing an end to the three-week strike that has delayed the opening of school for 185,000 students.

John Elliot, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, said he was optimistic that the union's 11,000 members would vote in favor of the agreement over the weekend and return to school on Monday. The agreement calls for a three-year contract, with a 6 percent increase in the first year, a 7 percent increase the second year, and a 6 percent increase the third.

Increases in the second and third years are contingent on new revenue coming into the school system. If no new revenues are generated, the union retains the right to negotiate for an increase. Union members had sought a one-year contract with a 14 percent increase; the district sought to freeze teacher salaries. (See Education Week, Sept. 16, 1987.)

In Chicago, however, the Chicago Teachers Union reported little progress last week in negotiations with the school board over a salary dispute. The Illinois Education Labor Relations Board has turned down a request by the board to order striking teachers back to work.

The labor board late last week was considering a complaint filed by the union, charging that the district had reduced the school year by three days without notifying the union and without collective bargaining. Board members said the days were cut because of budget constraints. The Chicago district serves some 450,000 students.

In Boston, where 650 bus drivers continued their strike last week, U.S. District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity has been asked to intervene on the grounds that the walkout affects his 1974 orders to integrate the schools. The request was filed by Thomas I. Atkins, the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the desegregation case.

The Boston School Department is providing public-transportation passes to students, reimbursing car pools at 22 cents a mile, and providing nearly 100 taxicabs to transport the severely handicapped. Some 27,000 students are affected.

In all, teacher strikes in seven states--Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington--have idled more than 600,000 students.


Vol. 07, Issue 03

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