Teachers picket Niles school board

Published 10:54 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Niles Community Schools teachers took their message to the street - literally - Monday night.
The teachers, who have been working without a contract since July 1, 2003, picketed outside the Niles Community Schools administrative building before the board of education held its meeting.
Roberts, president of the Niles District Education Association, said the main issues at hand are health care and class sizes.
The board of education and the teachers have entered into a "fact-finding" process.
During the process, an independent third party is brought in to hear both sides' positions and offer a recommendation on how to resolve the dispute.
The teachers held the informational picketing as a first step in making their position known, Roberts said.
The teachers want a cost of living increase in pay and a cap on class sizes in secondary schools, according to Roberts.
Since the teachers have not received a cost of living increase in their salaries since 2000, being asked to pay for insurance coverage would be the equivalent of a reduction in salary, Roberts said.
Doug Law, superintendent of Niles Community Schools, is trying to find a resolution while keeping the well-being of the district in mind.
Law announced to the board Monday night that a contract had been approved by the secretaries' union.
The agreement passed with a 3-1 vote and means that secretaries will be reporting for work Aug. 30, the first day of classes.
The largest change to come with the new contract is the decrease in copay secretaries will have to pay for insurance premiums.
Previously, the copay was $35 a month, under the new plan of Michigan Education Special Services Association choices, the co-pay will be roughly $21 a month.
Pat Jaroch, president of the Association of Office Personnel, echoed Law's approval of the contract resolution.