Redbank Valley Teachers on Strike
(Photos by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography)
The teachers began picketing outside Redbank Valley High School around 9:00 a.m. on Monday.
The strike comes in the wake of contentious contract negotiations centering primarily around health insurance concessions and a proposed two-year pay freeze for teachers.
Negotiating meetings themselves have even been a sticking point, with the Redbank Valley Education Association (RVEA) saying in a statement that the board “assured” them they would have a comprehensive proposal for a meeting on Sunday, September 12, then informed them, via their attorney Bob Zurata, that the board “did not have a formal proposal.”
The school district fired back in a second Facebook post on Sunday saying that they had not promised a formal proposal.
“We tried to schedule a meeting last night, but the district was unwilling to bring a proposal. We said we’d meet. We’re available today, we’re available tomorrow. We’re available any time,” union representative Patrick Andrekovich told exploreClarion.com on Monday morning.
According to Andrekovich, RVEA is still waiting on a response to their most recent proposal.
“Dr. Shaffer told us they won’t have a response until September 22, I think was the date. I don’t know the hold up on their end.”
“All we’re asking for is for them (school board) to come back with a proposal. We don’t feel that is an unreasonable thing to request since we’re bargaining. To meet and actually negotiate is a realistic expectation.”
The most recent contract expired in June 2019, leaving the 77 teachers in the RVEA working without a contract for over two years.
Andrekovich also noted the RVEA is waiting to hear from the state on how long they can strike, but they believe the strike could last until late October.
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