The notice was delivered to school district administrative personnel late Friday afternoon.
In the strike notice it says that members of Local 017 voted “overwhelmingly” to authorize the negotiation team to issue the ten (10) day strike notice to the Meigs Local School Board.
Members of Local 017 are the 66 non-certified people who work for the school system as bus drivers, cooks, janitors, and office assistants.
The notice from the Union to Meigs Local further states that the strike will commence at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 20 unless there is some agreement between Local 017 and the Board of Education to meet for further negotiations.
Superintendent Rusty Bookman said Monday that should the strike occur steps will be taken to keep the Meigs Local Schools open. He said that teams will be brought in by Huffmaster Crisis Response to handle most of the duties carried out by the union members, and the district will advertise locally for assistance.
Asked how a strike will affect the teachers, Bookman noted that the teachers have already signed a contract and are required by law to report to work.
“The buildings will be open, we’ll tighten our belts, and we’ll do whatever we need to do to give the children the education they deserve,” said Bookman.
At Wednesday night’s meeting of the Meigs Local Board of Education, Bookman said plans will be discussed on handling strike issues, and a spokesman will be named to channel all communications through the news media so that the public will be aware of everything happening.
Negotiations between the Meigs Board and the Local 017 have been ongoing since September 2009 and continued until Jan. 14 2010 when the two went into mediation and the Board presented its last final best offer which was later implemented.
However since that time, Lynda Bolin, field representative for OAPSE, and Steve Morris, Local president, say the Local has made numerous requests to go “back to the table” with all of them being denied.
As for that final best offer from the Board it provides for an average raise of 25 cent an hour retroactive to July 1, 2010, and calls for OAPSE members to continue to pay five percent of their insurance premiums, something agreed to in the contract with the district’s teachers.
Bolin contends that the proposed insurance with the five percent employee pay is actually a cut in the benefit package because the deductions are larger. She also says while a 25 cent an hour increase is being offered, the hours of “guaranteed time” for bus drivers are being reduced by one-half hour resulting in less pay.
When asked about the less pay issue, Superintendent Bookman said that affects only people who drive under 5 1/2 hours, and that in the Meigs district it affects only one driver.
“Our drivers are paid for the hours they work,” he said.
While issues could be resolved before Jan. 20, Bookman said in the meantime plans are being made to keep the schools open.