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Shaler Area Teachers On Strike

Nearly 400 Shaler Area School District teachers went on strike Tuesday after the district and faculty union failed to come to an agreement.

Superintendent Wesley Shipley said the district and union met for seven hours last week with a mediator and made progress, but that was not the case Monday.

“We met again yesterday hoping to move further and came to an impasse and that we are now at a point where there is no more give on either side,” Shipley said.

The main issues still being disputed are salary scale and contribution to health care benefits.

Shaler’s faculty has been working under terms of a contract that expired in the summer of 2011. More than 4,600 students are affected by the walkout.

Melissa Ravas, the teacher’s union president, said they were expecting but did not receive an offer Monday.

Shipley said the state will give him the “official end of strike date” by the end of the week, which he predicted should be around Sept. 20.

He said the next step would be to go to “final best offer nonbinding arbitration.”

“We are anticipating that that is the step we’re going to have to take given the comments from the union president this morning that they’re prepared to stay out until there is either a contract or until the state requires them back,” Shipley said.

Shipley said either way, coming to an agreement will take time.

“I hope that things come to a close very quickly and our students can return to school, but considering where we stand and the length of time gone into it, it would be foolish of me to think … the teachers are all the sudden going to change their mind or the board is going to change their mind,” Shipley said.

Talks will resume Wednesday evening.

Jess is from Elizabeth Borough, PA and is a junior at Duquesne University with a double major in journalism and public relations. She was named as a fellow in the WESA newsroom in May 2013.