They have been without a new contract since June 2008, when a five-year contract negotiated in 2003 expired.
They began negotiating for a new contract in the fall of 2007 — that was two years ago.
It does not take two years to negotiate a contract if everyone is being reasonable. The teachers began picketing Board of Education meetings last month.
Hundreds of picketers turned out at last Tuesdays meeting. Joining the Onteora Teachers Association in solidarity were the Onteora Non-Teaching Employees Association, neighboring school district teachers unions and even some retired teachers.
The board stayed in executive session for a abnormally long time which made it look like the board did not want to face the picketing teachers. Teachers union official middle school teacher Corey Cavallaro said in response that the board and administration have “absolutely zero respect for us.”
A letter was sent by the union to all parents explaining that the teachers may strike.
In response, the Onteora school board held an emergency meeting at which it agreed to double the pay for substitute teachers and staff in the event of a strike.
Wow! Look how fast they negotiated that! Bammmmm. Let's double the pay! What kind of sense does that make? It seems that there should be some questions raised in regard to that decision. First one should be, is this board negotiating in good faith with the Teachers? Why has it taken two years (so far)?
Listen, believe it or not - unions don't strike at the drop of a hat. Someone, on the district side - is playing games at the bargaining table. That's what this is all about.
......and it shouldn't get to this point.
But the last agreement was made in 2003 and that contract has already been expired two years!
District Superintendent Dr. Leslie Ford - better step in and be a MEDIATOR or hold on to your little mortarboard hat.