The Vote to End The Strike Comes Today

Happy Sunday, friends.

It’s been quite a week. I don’t recall a single seven day stretch holding more life changes for me than the one I just went through. Teaching, striking, a health issue, a financial issue.

Have you ever had a week like that? I’m sure you have. To be honest, I’m not sure at times how I managed to get from there to here, but here I am. Still going, still fighting.

To catch up with you, the strike lasted from Monday until Wednesday. They were three of the most physically, mentally, emotionally, and professionally intense days I can honestly say I’ve ever had. I got tired of people telling me I was making history, but I did enjoy showing people my angry side when I’d hear that we were being greedy and lazy. Always the student, I learned how to do Instagram lives, and had several very positive comments about my “reporting” (used very loosely).

The board and the union went into negotiations with the federal mediator on Wednesday at 1pm, and did not come out until after 2:30 am. Why the board could not have met with us prior to this, prior to the start of the school year, is beyond me. There were several instances where the board did not even show up to bargain, so don’t give me baloney about the union not doing the work.

As noted on my previous post , a conceptual agreement was reached at the table. As such, the terms cannot be shared with the public or media until the membership has voted to accept or reject the contract. I will tell you one thing for sure–unlike any other teacher’s union leader I have been associated with (including my time in another district, and I considered that leader a personal friend), I absolutely trust this negotiating team to have our backs. If they say the terms are agreeable, I know they believe in it, too.

Today at 4 we gather at Huntington Park in Columbus (the only venue open and large enough to handle our 4500 members on short notice) to vote on the agreement and accept it as our contract. I am very, very curious to see how the district “agreed” to fix the asbestos, lead paint, rodents, and leaking roof issues as well as the HVAC installations and repairs in a way that suited the union.

But if you want total transparency, I am disgusted that this elected group of people led by an out-of-touch superintendent played chicken with our classrooms and the education of the students we serve, many of whom are already notably behind their peers due to COVID and the negative impact of digital learning in an environment where technology is often unavailable and unreliable. To think they (the board) wanted to pit the community and parents against teachers because they didn’t want to remove lead paint? To eliminate asbestos? To upgrade buildings, some built over a century ago?…for what appears to be sheer spite is a truly horrible state of affairs.

While I’m not going back into the classroom (at least immediately), and I support the union’s decisions, you can bet that I will make sure my vote today either for or against the contract offered ultimately supports the kids, since I feel they’re the ones who lost the most at the hands of the people elected to take care of them.