Wyoming Area School Teachers have set a strike date of Sept 3, lead negotiator John Holland said. The union has worked under the terms of an expired contract for three years, and “The members are pretty disgusted with the School Board,” Holland said.
“We’re now going into the fourth year and the teachers don’t believe we are making any progress,” Holland said. “Every time you think you have an agreement, the board changes it’s position, and it’s impossible to hit a moving target.”
The union must give the district 48 hours notice before beginning a strike. The union can do that at a school board work session tonight or again at the regular meeting next week.
Under state law, teachers may strike twice in one school year. The first strike must end in time for students to get 180 school days in by June 15 or by the last day of the scheduled school year. If the first strike threatens that deadline, both sides must go into mandatory, non-binding arbitration.
If a second strike is called after arbitration, it must end in time for students to get 180 school days by June 30. If that deadline is threatened, the state Secretary of Education can seek a court injunction ordering the teachers back to work.
Districts are not allowed to bring in substitutes or “strikebreakers” who have not worked for the district in the last 12 months during a first strike, but may do so in a second strike in the same school year.
Holland, the regional director of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, generally does not discuss negotiation or strike tactics. “When we go on strike we always decide according to events and what’s going on,” he noted, then added “There is a potential here that it could be a lengthy strike.”