Abington Heights Education Association planning September strike

By Robert Tomkavage rtomkavage@civitasmedia.com

July 22, 2014

President Jim Maria announced on July 17 that teachers, nurses and counselors of the Abington Heights Education Association will strike on Sept. 11 if a deal on a new contract is not reached between the teachers’ union and school district.

September would mark the beginning of the fourth year that the education association would be working without a contract.

According to Maria, negotiating sessions on June 30 and July 14 failed to produce any progress toward a new deal.

“We are, I think, further apart now than we have been in a long time and I’m very troubled by it,” Maria said after the July 16 school board meeting.

After the union representatives met with the district on Monday and discussed a course of action, Maria announced the union’s plan to strike in September barring a new deal the July 17 news conference.

“We figured the sooner we let the district know (our plan), the more time they would have to sit down and settle this,” Maria said.

Maria hopes a deal can be struck sooner, but added the teachers’ union has a negotiating session scheduled with the school board on Sept. 10 to try to avert the scheduled strike.

Abington Heights Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Mahon recognized that a gap remains between the teachers’ union and school district, but remains hopeful the two can reach an agreement.

“There is still a distance between the two sides,” Mahon said after the July 16 board meeting. “We’re always hopeful and I know the board is always open to continuing to work to try to reach a deal. Great effort has been put into it and we hope to continue that effort.”