Oct 13, 2021 - Business
On this day in 2020: Gahanna teachers strike
Teachers and supporters line the sidewalk in front of Lincoln High School in 2020.
Teachers and supporters line the sidewalk in front of Lincoln High School in 2020. Photo courtesy of the Gahanna-Jefferson Education Association

Exactly one year ago today, Gahanna-Jefferson teachers began picketing after 105 days of tense, stalemated negotiations for a new employment contract.

  • The strike lasted four school days, ending with a temporary, one-year deal.

State of play: The union is now working under a new contract that was approved in April and runs through June 2024, with 3% annual pay raises and an appendix outlining teaching protocols amid the pandemic.

  • Today, Gahanna-Jefferson Education Association president Joan Miller tells Axios the union and district have better lines of communication open to help resolve their differences. She thinks that's a direct result of the strike.
  • The contract says teachers can't be asked to simultaneously teach students who are in classrooms and at home by using methods like live-streaming cameras — a key issue during bargaining, Miller says.
  • Instead, students have a dedicated online teacher, she says.

What they're saying: "I think we're in a good place right now, as good as we can be," Miller says.

  • "It was a tough time. We know it was hard on families. It was hard on us, too … but in our view, it was necessary, and now we have a renewed sense of cooperation."

👋 Alissa here. Where does the time go? I remember waiting at midnight, with plenty of coffee on hand, to hear the outcome of the union's vote last year. It was Franklin County's first teachers strike since Reynoldsburg's 2014 15-day demonstration.

  • An important lesson I took away from this experience is that you can't boil down union negotiations to strictly pay raises. Working conditions and safety procedures during the pandemic were central to this conflict.

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