Akron Education Association issues a 10-day strike notice

Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 1:26 PM EST
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - The Akron Education Association (AEA) issued a 10-day notice to the school district on Wednesday threatening a strike that could begin on Jan. 9.

The AEA met with the Akron Public School Board’s negotiation team, alongside a federal mediator, over the past two weeks. The Akron teacher’s union contract expired on June 30.

The AEA claims the board has “no desire to bargain in good faith, answer public record requests which they are legally required to do, or make any real attempt to support their indefensible proposals.”

Escalating violence inside the schools in the form of teacher assaults, loaded guns, stabbing, and fights have become the number one sticking point, according to Akron Education Association President Patricia Shipe.

“Students can kick you, they can push you, they can hit you, they can spit on you, they can assault you. Our teachers are resigning in record numbers because they’re not being supported in the classrooms, in our buildings, because of the violence in our buildings,” Shipe told 19 News.

Akron teachers said they don’t want to strike because no one wins in a strike, but they will walk out on Jan. 9 if the school board’s negotiating team isn’t willing to bargain in good faith, answer questions and come up with real solutions.

Shipe accused the superintendent and the school district of wanting to weaken the language when it comes to how teacher assaults are reported, “Unless the teacher is severely injured, having to go to a hospital and in need of first aid, the district believes it’s not an assault, because the numbers look bad.”

The AEA said the superintendent and the school district are more concerned about their image than the lesson the growing violence inside the schools is teaching students.

“The other students are having to observe that - the other students are having to sit there while education stops, and they’re having to watch that or in some instances come to the defense of their teacher,” Shipe stated.

While the AEA says they are still waiting on a response from the district, 19 News reached out to Akron City Schools and received the following statement:

“Akron Public Schools respects and values its teachers and the work they do for children every day. We know that if we keep negotiating, we can reach an agreement in the best interests of Akron educators, students, parents, and our community. APS is prepared to stay at the table day in and day out to resolve this situation and keep children learning. We hope the Akron Education Association shares this commitment with us.”

The AEA, which represents close to 2700 members in 45 buildings, said a strike is the last resort, and what happens next is up to the school district.