Sacramento Teachers' Strike Enters Second Day

From Times Wires Services

Thousands of students stayed away from Sacramento schools Wednesday as a walkout by teachers, counselors and nurses entered its second day.

Meanwhile, San Jose's 29,000 students attended their second day of school in classrooms staffed by teachers who came very close to striking but at the last minute accepted a tentative contract offer.

In San Diego, teachers prepared to go back to school next week with a 6.4% pay hike approved by school trustees Tuesday.

These developments came as teachers in Illinois, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania voted to begin the new academic year on the picket lines, joining the ranks of about 8,000 public school teachers on strike Wednesday in eight states.

More than 135,000 students were affected by strikes in California, Washington state, Montana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, and Massachusetts.

Biggest Walkout

The nation's biggest walkout is in the Sacramento City Unified School District, where 1,200 teachers have struck schools serving 47,000 pupils.

At least 5,200 Sacramento students were absent Wednesday, district spokeswoman Penny Thrift said. The district lined up more than 1,000 substitutes, who were conducting classes alongside about 640 union teachers who crossed the picket lines.

Small groups of students walked out of class, telling reporters they were bored with prepared lessons given by some of the substitute teachers.

The 2,500 union workers--teachers, counselors and nurses--voted overwhelmingly early Tuesday to reject the district's latest contract offer, which included a 13% pay raise.

Negotiators from both sides met informally throughout the day Wednesday trying to bridge disagreements on salary and fringe benefits.

In other parts of California:

* The 1,550 teachers in San Jose would get an 8% salary increase during the 1989-90 school year under the contract, which will be considered during a ratification vote Tuesday and Wednesday.

* For the first time in three years, San Diego Unified School District trustees raised teachers' salaries before the start of the school year and without mediation. Pay hikes were given to 6,500 teachers and administrators, as well as to another 3,900 non-teaching employees.

* Teachers in the suburban San Juan School District northeast of Sacramento remained in the classroom Wednesday after voting earlier to postpone a strike and complete mediation and fact-finding procedures with the school district.

Elsewhere throughout the country, about 1,500 teachers in Elgin, Ill., voted late Tuesday to strike against the state's third largest school district, affecting 27,000 students. Marathon talks Tuesday in Quincy, Ill., were unsuccessful in ending a strike by 380 teachers that has kept 6,800 students out of classes since Aug. 29.

Public school teachers in Everett, Mass., voted unanimously Tuesday to reject a two-year contract offer and strike with the beginning of the school year Wednesday.

In Pennsylvania, the 159 teachers of the Perkiomen Valley School District in suburban Philadelphia reached a tentative contract agreement Tuesday afternoon, but strikes continued in three other districts.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
58°