Austintown teachers break off without a vote on a new contract
By Susan Tebben
Austintown teachers met Tuesday but broke off without a vote on a new contract with the school board.
The Austintown Education Association, with about 300 teachers, met at Austintown Middle School to discuss the tentative agreement reached Feb. 25 after negotiations with the school board and a federal mediator.
But after nearly three hours of discussion, union President Barb Tomic announced Tuesday night that the association’s board chose to wait.
“The AEA board chose not to vote ... pending completion of contract language,” she said.
The problem, one teacher said, is contract language that is missing from the tentative agreement because it had not been returned from attorneys. Tomic declined to comment on whether that is true.
There has not been a definite date set for the union to meet again, but Tomic said the membership would try again next week.
The teachers are not the only ones waiting to hear about their contracts. Members of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, representing the janitorial, custodial, cafeteria and other nonteaching staff, waved signs outside and awaited answers from the board.
“Part of what this contract says is that teachers do what has historically been done by paraprofessionals and cafeteria staff,” said Ron Blatt, field representative for OAPSE. Blatt said he had seen a copy of the contract, which included monitoring of playgrounds and cafeterias.
Tomic said OAPSE’s fears of losing jobs because of the contract is “not true.”
As they met, AEA members could be heard talking about OAPSE having its own contract and not being a part of the teachers contract.
Details of the tentative agreement have not been disclosed, but discussion of a raise and holidays were brought up in the meeting, along with insurance caps.