MORGAN COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) — Union members in one Ohio school district went on strike Wednesday morning, March 1, in Morgan County following a wage dispute between workers and the school board, according to WTAP.
OAPSE Local union members in the Morgan Local School District include drivers, cooks, secretaries and other employees.
Union president Tom Quaintance says that the school district’s superintendent, Dr. Kristen Barker, met late on Tuesday night, Feb. 28, with union officials to offer a raise package of 5% this year and 4% in the following two years. Barker noted that the State Employment Relations Board (SERB) average wage increase in Ohio is only 2.3%.
The OAPSE union leadership turned down the 5%-4%-4% offer that night. One of their members, bus driver Michelle Maxwell, said the union wants more. They want yearly raises of 6%, 5%, and 5% over the next three years.
Maxwell claims a neighboring school district, Franklin Local in Muskingum County, makes more than Morgan Local School District workers and that the raise Barker proposed would not catch the workers up in pay to the other district until 2026.
Bus drivers in Franklin Local are paid a base rate of $19.63 per hour, which is more than a dollar than the maximum Morgan Local bus drivers receive.
Barker released a statement emphasizing the school board’s concern for the students.
The next round of negotiations between the OAPSE Local 51 union and the school board is scheduled for March 10.