Westlake Teachers Dangerously Close to Strike
by Michelle Faust
A small suburban school district in Northeast Ohio is dangerously close to a strike at the beginning of the next school year. Teachers in Westlake could vote to strike on Wednesday.
Everything hinges on the Westlake City Schools' Board of Education vote on Monday night. The board could implement a contract that the Westlake Teacher's Association rejected in a vote last month.
"If the board had not presented a last, best, and final offer, there would be no discussion of a strike. We would continue the conversations of negotiations and continue moving forward," says Loretta Tindall, a fifth grade teacher and the spokesperson for the union.
The teachers are now earning the same wages they were in 2011. They're asking for an increase to 2012 wage levels.
School Board President Coral Winter acknowledges the teachers have made salary concessions in their past contracts, but she says they have some of the top salaries in Ohio. And they cannot go to Westlake voters for more money.
"Well, our voters have failed three levees and I think that what we need to show our voters is that we're taking a stance to make sure that we're living within our means," says Winter.
The WTA says compensation packages are not competitive within Cuyahoga County.