COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – School is starting for Columbus City Schools in less than a week, but the district and the teachers’ union still don’t have a contract agreement in place.
If union members decide, teachers could strike next week.
The last time Columbus teachers went on strike was 1975.
Some who were affected by the strike then have grandchildren in Columbus City Schools now, and they don’t want them to miss out on in-person class time.
“You’re going way back,” said Pastor John Bradford, who doesn’t remember a lot from that year, but he remembers the strike.
“It was a kind of shock,” he said. “Many were excited to transition to go to high school and then you get this.”
Bradford was in tenth grade at East High School in 1975. He said churches across the city helped students and families during the five-day strike.
Forty-seven years later, Bradford now has grandchildren in Columbus City Schools.
“They’re all excited to go back and so they are kind of sad something may happen,” he said.
“Let’s come together on one accord and let’s get the job done, and give the students what they need,” said Columbus resident Pam Shields.
Shields has a granddaughter in Columbus City Schools.
“It’s really impacting her because she’s been through the pandemic, she’s been through learning and being instructed through Zoom and she wants to get back into the classroom,” Shields said.
In 1975, Shields was a student in Ohio State University’s College of Education. The strike pushed her student teaching back an entire quarter.
“That caused the disheveling and the ruffling effect that we did not have a place to be placed,” she said.
Now Shields is hoping this year’s negotiations between the district and the union, the Columbus Education Association, end in an agreement before a strike.
“We’ve got to look at ways to bring a conclusion and a solution because our students are at risk right now,” she said.
Both the union and the district are set for a bargaining session Thursday morning. The union will hold a general membership meeting this Sunday, Aug. 21, the date the current contract expires. A vote to strike could be taken at that meeting.
The first day of school for CCS students is Wednesday, Aug. 24.