The Aftermath of a Strike

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

Teacher strikes can have lasting effects on school districts; just ask those in Oregon schools.

Two years ago, teachers there walked the picket lines after failed contract negotiations. A deal was eventually reached, but the aftermath is still being felt. Even after Oregon teachers put down their picket signs, memories of their strike were not easy to erase.

"There were hard feelings,” says teacher Jean Whipple. “There were some parents who wouldn't speak to me."

The teacher strike left kids out of class for nine days. An agreement was reached but there were still plenty of wounds to heal.

"Even though you might have a contract at the end of a strike, all the issues haven't been put to bed," says School Board president, Bill Fearer.

Fearer was not on the board at the time, but after being elected he made it his goal to rebuild relationships between the board and the teachers.

"In order for school districts to function well, there needs to be trust between all of those groups," says Fearer.

Whipple says time has a way of healing as well. Contract negotiations this year went off without a hitch. Whipple believes the lessons of the strike were number one on most minds.

"I think we do whatever we can not to get to that position again because it is a sickening feeling. It really is," says Whipple.

Whipple sympathizes with those in Harlem. She says she knows how it feels to want nothing more than to get kids back in the classroom once again.

The teachers and the board in Oregon say they were both pleased with negotiations this year. They reached a three-year contract agreement earlier this month.


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