Scranton teachers authorized to strike
WILKES-BARRE (WOLF) -- "We are worth our salary, every penny of it. And we will not just accept nothing, and that's what's being offered right now: nothing," said Scranton Federation of Teachers President Rosemary Boland.
Scranton teachers have the go-ahead to strike in the case they don't reach an agreement with the Scranton School District. Their two-year contract reached after the 2015 strike expires Thursday.
"Strike is the last resort. Contrary to popular opinion, nobody wants to go on strike. It is not pleasant to go on strike," said Boland.
They say their goal is for a fair and equitable contract, but the district says their hands are tied financially.
"We're working very hard by the minute, by the hour, by the day, to make sure this strike doesn't happen. We don't want our teachers out on strike. We don't want our children without education. We want to come to conclusion. But we can't give something that is not there," said Scranton School Board President Bob Sheridan.
The Scranton Federation of Teachers say they hope both sides can come to the table and negotiate as equals, both giving in a little bit for the good of the students.
"I understand that they want a raise, but they got to understand something: we're a problem, we got a problem, we're under watch by the Department of Education. The Department of Education is watching every move we make," said Sheridan.
The Scranton School District was put under financial watch status just two months ago, but the teachers union says that's not their fault.
"We didn't cause the deficit. The deficit was caused by a lack of understanding of fiduciary responsibility and I'm hopeful that we'll prevail and get this thing done," said Boland.
They also say part of the problem is the pay raises given to central administration, citing several increases over the course of 5 years at more than 20%.
"The teachers make a decent pay. We're asking them to stay status quo for the next two years so we can get together and come to a happy medium," said Sheridan.
They're currently in negotiations and hope to an agreement Thursday.