Ohio School System, Teachers Reach Agreement, Possibly Ending Strike

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/Pool

Teachers in the largest school system in Ohio and district officials reached an agreement early on Thursday, potentially ending a strike that began this week over appropriate class sizes and guaranteed air-conditioning in classrooms.

The Columbus Education Association (CEA), a labor union representing nearly 4,500 teachers, counselors, librarians and other workers, said on Twitter that it had reached a “conceptual agreement” and for members to watch for updates.

“CEA Members: Do not report to picket sites in the morning, check your email for further instructions,” it said in its tweet.

Details of the agreement were not available as of early Thursday morning. CEA members would need to ratify the agreement for the strike that began on Monday to end.

The Columbus Dispatch newspaper reported that the agreement was reached after more than 12 hours of negotiations between the Columbus City Schools and the association with a federal mediator.

The district will continue virtual learning on Thursday and Friday and with educators expected to return to school on Monday, the newspaper reported.

Members voted on Sunday to reject the school board’s “last, best and final offer” and commence its first strike since 1975.

The labor dispute was over several issues including smaller class sizes, full-time art, music and physical education teachers in elementary schools and functional heating and air-conditioning in classrooms.

SOURCE: Reuters – Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Kirsten Donovan