COLUMBUS — September 29, 2008 — The Ohio Education Association, representing 130,000 teachers and school support personnel, today said it will oppose legislation being introduced by Senator John Carey, R-Wellston, that would eliminate the right of educators to strike from the Ohio public employees collective bargaining statute.
In a statement, OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks outlined why OEA opposes the no-strike bill as a threat to balanced collective bargaining for education employees in Ohio. She said:
“The OEA strongly opposes any weakening of Ohio’s longstanding collective bargaining law, which has empowered teachers to advocate for many improvements in teaching and learning conditions that have benefited students.
“The so-called reform proposal to eliminate the right to strike would undermine a carefully balanced law that has proven successful in helping educators and school boards resolve issues to their mutual benefit in a way that also helps Ohio students.
“Ohio’s collective bargaining law has created a framework for problem-solving that has made strikes rare and short in duration. When strikes do occur, the issues at stake have a direct impact on teaching and learning conditions.
“Collective bargaining itself, including the right to strike, came about as a labor reform intended to help educators and school boards develop consensus on key education issues and the terms and conditions of employment.
“We agree that binding arbitration and mediation are important tools to resolve specific contractual disputes, and we have negotiated arbitration and mediation procedures within local collective bargaining agreements. Strikes are a last resort after other dispute resolution processes fail. We cannot support the elimination of the right of employees to withhold their services.”
The Ohio Education Association (ohea.org) represents 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio’s public schools, colleges and universities.
CONTACT: Michele Prater
614-227-3071; cell 614-378-0469, firstname.lastname@example.org