Columbus, Ohio, teachers’ strike: agreement reached

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Teachers on strike in Columbus City schools will be back in class on Monday.

A preliminary agreement between the 4,500 members of the Columbus Education Association and Ohio’s largest public school district was announced early Thursday, ending the three-day strike that began Sunday and heavily disrupted on the first day of school on Wednesday with students learning remotely.

“We are pleased to announce that we have reached a conceptual agreement with CEA leaders, and our children will resume in-person instruction on Monday,” Board of Education President Jennifer Adair said in a statement. “While details cannot yet be released, the contract recognizes the Council’s commitment to improving our student outcomes, the essential work of CEA members, and strengthening our learning environments.”

In a Publish On its social media pages, the teachers’ union said the deal was reached at 2:38 a.m., nearly 2 hours after negotiations overseen by federal mediator Joe Trejo were scheduled to begin Wednesday afternoon.

The message told striking members that they did not need to return to the picket lines.

Union President John Coneglio thanked not only ACE members, but also the community for their support in ending the teachers’ strike, the district’s first since 1975.

“This agreement would not have been possible without the unwavering support of parents, community members, unions and local businesses in Columbus,” he said in a statement. “It was a citywide effort that helped CEA win the schools Columbus students deserve.”

The union is planning a meeting this weekend to vote on the contract, which the school board will then have to ratify. The main issues of the strike were class sizes, building conditions and the availability of arts and physical education classes, in supplement to pay.

Columbus schools will continue online learning Thursday and Friday, giving teachers time to prepare for students to return to class on Monday.

On Wednesday, the district organized online courses using substitutesand a lot community organizations have opened their doors as a meeting place for students as schools remained closed. But several parents indicated that they would not let their students attendsome choose solidarity with the union.

The district provided take-out meal in several places.

In a social media post, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther praised CEA and CCS for coming back to the bargaining table and “putting our children first.”

“While we all wish a strike could have been averted, the end result will be a safe and healthy learning environment for our children, and fair pay for teachers, nurses and all those essential to the learning,” Ginther said. “I can’t wait to welcome the children to the class!”

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