Harlem Strike

School Desk
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It's back to school for thousands of Harlem school district students, as support staff ratify a new contract. School has been closed since Tuesday after secretaries, custodians and para educators walked off the job.

After several hours of negotiations, union members had a new contract in hand Thursday morning. While it's not ideal, union members say they're glad to be going back to work and happy they'll be treated the same as other district employees.

In the end, support staff accepted a pay freeze and the district agreed to apply the same pay freeze to other Harlem school employees, an agreement often referred to as the "me too" clause.

Union members also applauded the district's move to freeze insurance premiums for the bargaining unit and contribute a larger percent to support staffer's life insurance. While they would have liked more, union representatives say it was a compromise and these workers are looking forward to getting back to school Friday.

The Harlem school board schools will open on time Friday morning and all buses, lunches and after school programs will go as planned except high school football. Their Friday night game is postponed until Saturday.