Cleveland Heights-University Heights teachers union declines ‘last, best, final’ contract offer, with more talks set
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education and district teachers are set to return to the bargaining table Nov. 5 after the union overwhelmingly rejected the latest contract offer last week.
What was implemented by the school board on Sept. 29 as the district’s “last, best and final offer” was voted down by the nearly 500-member Cleveland Heights Teachers Union by a tally of 437 to 11, with one abstention.
There were also 41 members who either did not return their ballots or turned them in late. Factoring them in as well, that worked out to 89 percent of the membership voting to decline the board’s offer, CHTU President Karen Rego said.
“Of the ones who voted, it was 97.5 percent” rejecting the contract offer and further authorizing the American Federation of Teachers Local 795 executive board to strike.
That, in turn, would require a 10-day advance notice of intent to strike being presented to the school board, which has not happened. Another round of negotiations has been scheduled.
“We are planning to negotiate Nov. 5, so that is positive movement,” Rego said. “We always want to stay at the table until we come to an agreement.”
While the school board voted to implement the one-year contract so that it would otherwise go into effect on Jan. 1, board President Jodi Sourini said earlier that the district remains under a “continued duty” to negotiate.
“We will also meet any continuing bargaining obligation in the event the union shows a willingness to make meaningful change,” Sourini said on Oct. 2.
The teachers union remains receptive to surmounting the impasse that the school board cited in its Sept. 29 contract vote.
“In order to come together, both sides are going to have to come up with a creative