Garfield Heights Teachers issue 10-day strike notification

Garfield Heights Middle School went under lockdown Monday after a bullet was found on a school...
Garfield Heights Middle School went under lockdown Monday after a bullet was found on a school bus, and contraband was found outside the school building.(woio)
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 5:59 PM EDT
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GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - Garfield Heights teachers are calling on the school board to make massive improvements to the district, as they feel that more must be done to retain staff.

The Garfield Heights Teachers Association issued a 10-day strike notification to the Garfield Heights City Schools Board of Education and the State Employment Relations Board in the late evening of Oct. 17.

GHTA has been negotiating with GHCS BOA and its representatives since April 2022.

“After a second day of mediation with GHCS on Monday, October 17, the parties were unable to reach a tentative agreement that fully addresses the needs and concerns of GHTA. The authorization of the 10-day strike notice was approved by an overwhelming majority of the union membership on September 23, 2022. The tentative strike date for the GHTA is Monday, October 31, 2022,” GHTA stated.

The Black Women Commission of Cuyahoga County and the Women Commission for Education and Training are offering their support to the Garfield Heights Teachers’ Association (GHTA) who say that the City of Garfield Heights School District is “at the bottom of the barrel”.

Teachers are calling out low wages, lack of staff stability, safety issues, and staff development problems as the main issues to address.

“This authorization by the union signals the confidence that the members have in their bargaining team to represent their interests in acquiring an equitable contract that will promote safe and fair working conditions for all GHTA members, and the best possible learning conditions for all Garfield Heights students,” according to GHTA.

GHTA has been without a contract since June 30, 2022.

Last week, the GHTA and Garfield Heights City Schools met with a federal mediator to try and make ground on a new deal.

Those talks continued on Monday.

The federal mediator has been secured by the GHTA negotiating team for Oct. 18.

GHTA said it is prepared to head back to the bargaining table.

The board’s team has not responded to GHTA at this time, the teacher’s association said.

GHTA spokesperson Susan Hart shared the following statement:

“The decision to issue the 10-day notice was not an easy one for our members to make. We want to be in our classrooms with our students more than anything. We want to come to a reasonable resolution with the board that addresses the needs of our teachers, students, and community. Our negotiating team was encouraged by the progress made by both sides during bargaining today; however, during a break, the board’s team left the building without any notification or rationale. After this display of disrespect towards our members and the collective bargaining process, we moved forward with issuing the strike notice to the district with heavy hearts. We have the utmost faith in our bargaining team and will continue to support them as they work to reach a resolution with the GHCS Board of Education. It is our hope that, through continued efforts by both parties, we will be able to reach a tentative agreement and avoid a strike on October 31. If that does not happen, our teachers are ready to head to the picket line. We have lost 46 teachers in the past year. One of the primary goals of the Association in this contract negotiation is to ensure that we can attract and retain quality teachers by securing sustainable working conditions language, adequate compensation, and competitive benefits in this contract. We must stop the bleed now more than ever. We don’t want to strike, but we can’t stand by while teachers are leaving in droves and the safety of our staff and students continues to be ignored.”