By Lee Murray
The Youngstown Education Association, the union representing Youngstown City Schools teachers, has authorized its negotiating team to issue a 10-day intent-to-strike notice.
YEA representative Tim Kinkead said Tuesday night after the union vote that the notice will be used by the YEA negotiators when and if it is deemed necessary.
“Everybody was enthusiastic about the vote,” Kinkead said. “The mood was markedly different from the last time we met. Everyone was attentive and involved.”
Tuesday’s vote was unanimous, Kinkead said, adding that teachers remain dedicated to working with the school district to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
School is not in session until Sept. 3, so both sides have some time to work through the issue before it would affect students. A strike before that date may affect teachers at Youngstown Early College, however, where classes are underway.
“Those teachers are working right now without a contract,” Kinkead said.
The YEA bargaining team will continue to work in good faith with the district, Kinkead said. “The district is part of our lives — it’s our livelihood. Hopefully, something will work out,” he added.
Schools Superintendent Connie Hathorn said the notice will not affect the way negotiations are proceeding.
“It’s just a notice,” Hathorn said. “It doesn’t mean we’ve stopped negotiating.”
Hathorn added that he is confident both parties will agree on something soon.
“It is my expectation that we will get it sorted out. I believe that,” Hathorn said. “We will still come to the table and talk about our differences and continue to negotiate.”
“We’re optimistic,” Kinkead said. “Not happy, but realistic.”
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