Harlem School Workers Strike

By: Erica hurtt
By: Erica hurtt

Another day of stalled contract talks forces the Harlem school district to cancel classes again for Wednesday. The first day of classes for thousands of stateline students were called off Tuesday because of a support staff strike.

There has been little movement Tuesday after the union representing more than 300 workers rejected the latest contract offer. Tuesday they walked the picket line with a message for administrators.

It's the first full day of classes for thousands of Harlem district students, but parking lots sit empty and the only sign of life are these support staff workers walking the picket line trying to stay cool.

The district and union have reached consensus on many key issues, but the big sticking point is a pay freeze. Union members agree to the freeze but only if salaries for administrators and non-union secretaries are also frozen.

Budget problems have made compromise difficult for the district and administrators say they can't deal with union employees in the same way as non-union.

"Union secretaries that negotiate do not get the same benefits and salary as confidential or non union secretaries and vice versa. What the board tries to do is be fair with all employees," says Pat Deluca, superintendent.

No new negotiations are set so for now instead of sitting in class some students are walking the picket line showing support for these school employees.

Again, classes in the Harlem district are cancelled for Wednesday and district officials say school will likely be called off until an agreement with the union is reached


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