Garfield Heights Teachers’ Association unanimously votes to authorize 10-day strike notice

Published: Sep. 24, 2022 at 10:42 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Garfield Heights teachers voted unanimously to authorize a 10-day strike, if and when they deem it necessary. The Garfield Heights Teachers’ Union (GHTA) said, however, another vote would be needed to move things forward.

On Friday, more than 200 teachers attended a meeting with the union leadership to have their questions answered about 5 months of negotiations with the school district, and 3 months where teachers have worked without a contract.

Susan Hart has been a school teacher in the Garfield Heights School District for 27 years, and is now the spokesperson for the GHTA.

“I think our central office really needs to keep in mind how that is going to affect our community,” Hart said.

Parents with children in the district hope the divide between the district and the teachers over a contract does not result in a strike.

“Well, I mean, where does that leave my daughter’s education? For parents that work that don’t necessarily get daycare vouchers, what are we supposed to do with the kids while they’re on strike, they’re not going to school. That kind of impacts the whole household. The kids should come first.”

Teachers tell 19 News keeping kids first is exactly what they’re fighting for, but, they’re concerned they’re not being heard.

“We are really standing for the safety, stability and success of our students, and that is the one thing we’re really working towards,” Hart said.

The key is stability for students who often feel a connection with teachers.

However, Hart clarified the district has lost a number of teachers in a short period of time is one of the reasons for the notice to strike.

“It’s hard to say this, we are the lowest paid school district in Cuyahoga County.”

Teachers say the school’s administration, which so far has not agreed to meetings scheduled with the federal mediator, need to reconsider.

The school district should return to the table so both sides can be heard and work towards a new contract, Hart said.

“If the Central Office Administration can see how important that is, and what this is going to lead to for everything, then I think we could reach that tentative agreement a little bit quicker.”

19 News reached out to the Garfield Heights school district multiple times for a comment on the notice to strike, but officials have not replied.

This story is ongoing and will be updated as more details are released.