School employees file notice of strike intent
The next bargaining session is set for Monday afternoon.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
LIBERTY -- The union representing Liberty school district employees has filed a notice of intent to strike Thursday.
The nearly 175 employees -- both teachers and noncertificated staff -- are members of the Liberty Association of School Employees.
George Brumbaugh, a teacher and LASE spokesman, said the union's contract with the district expired Aug. 31, 2004. It was extended for a year with members taking a pay freeze during that time, he explained.
Brumbaugh said the two sides have been bargaining since Aug. 24. The issues include wages, benefits and working conditions. He could not be more specific.
The union, the spokesman said, gave the school district a proposal on Wednesday and is waiting for word from the administration.
In a brief statement Friday, schools Superintendent Larry Prince said that at the request of federal mediator Jenifer Flesher, the next bargaining session is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday.
"The Liberty Board of Education continues its effort to reach a fair and equitable contract settlement" with the LASE, Prince wrote. "The board is committed to a settlement that will provide long-term fiscal stability for the district's students, employees and programs."
Brumbaugh said the union hopes to get a new contract so a strike vote doesn't have to go before the membership.
The union wants to continue the education process without a work stoppage, he said.
The district's last strike was a seven-day walkout that ended Jan. 13, 1998. At that time, the teachers were members of the Liberty Teachers Association and nonteaching staff members of the Liberty Association of Classified Employees.
Since then, the two groups have merged.