Teachers in Strongsville have had their proposal for an end to their strike rejected by the school board.

The Strongsville teachers who work in a small school district in Ohio have been on strike for five weeks, in their fight for a fair contract. The board wants to freeze their pay progression and teachers say that the board also has a privatisation agenda.

The union yesterday proposed going to binding arbitration, however the board turned that down, the board President said: “We believe we have a responsibility to our community to stay the course. In binding arbitration, we would be delegating to an out-of-town third party the authority to spend Strongsvillle taxpayer dollars and concede management rights, which our board thinks is not appropriate and is not agreeable to us.”

The teachers have strong support from parents and students, but they are also coming under attack from a hostile media and having to suffer the use of non-union substitute teachers hired by the board in an attempt to destroy their action. Already the amount of money lost in strike days outweighs any gains they might get from a better contract, according to reports. The teachers are striking to defend public education and, given the entrenched position of the management, it looks as though their fight will carry on. In these circumstances solidarity is vital.