Strongsville: Neighbors divided over striking tactics

11:19 PM, Mar 22, 2013   |    comments
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STRONGSVILLE -- As the teacher's strike wraps up a third week of protests, some parents are not happy with the striking tactics.

The protestors have picketed outside the homes of the school board members, as well as their private places of business in neighboring towns.

"In my view, it's total harassment," said Michelle Soltis, a parent of a middle school student.

Becky Wing, who has two children in the school district, does not believe the picketing outside the homes will achieve what the teachers want.

"People will see that and say, 'Why would I want to pay them more, when they're acting like this?" Wing said.

Strongsville Education Association -- the teacher's union -- President Tracy Linscott says the protestors are following police guidelines when in the neighborhoods and are not making noise.

"They're walking and making the board aware that the teachers think about this 24/7," Linscott said.

Many green and white signs are popping up in lawns throughout the community with words that read: We Support Strongsville Teachers.

Judy Giblin has a sign staked in her front yard.

Giblin is a retired Strongsville first grade teacher with 21 years experience. 

"It breaks my heart because I know that most of the teachers would rather be teaching than out picketing. I think that when they voted to strike, they had no idea it would last this long," Giblin said.

She says she knows many people in the community are unhappy with the teachers for striking.

"I tell them that the teachers have legitimate reasons to be on strike, and it could be settled if the other side would actually negotiate. I know they can tweak something to make it satisfactory," Giblin said.

On Friday, the union said it has come up with a counterproposal, with more concessions to the school board.

The board president told Channel 3 he is anxious to see the proposal.

On Friday, the school board also filed a charge of unfair labor practice against the teachers' union, for picketing the homes and places of employment of the board members.

A Cleveland attorney tells Channel 3 the protestors are within their first amendment right to picket from the sidewalks.

For the charge to stick, the board would have to prove that the union is inducing or encouraging its members to picket at the homes, which, the attorney says, will be tough to prove.


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