Orwell teachers prepared to strike this week

ORWELL — Contract negotiations in the Addison-Rutland Supervisory Union are coming down to the wire, as teachers in that district announced on Friday that they would strike if school boards do not return to the table and reach a settlement by Wednesday.

Teachers in ARSU, which includes Orwell, Benson, Castleton and Fair Haven, have been working without a contract since July 2011 and are in the 15th month of negotiations on a new contract, having so far failed to reach a compromise. The supervisory union has imposed a pay freeze.

The Vermont National Education Association is calling the wage freeze a “pay cut,” as they say it will result in teachers receiving about $100 less than expected in remaining paychecks this school year.

Susan Corey, a spokeswoman for the Addison-Rutland Supervisory Union Education Association, last week requested that the boards return to the table late.

“We urge the boards to resume negotiations immediately; reverse their pay cut; and work with us to avoid a strike,” she said. “But make no mistake: If the boards refuse to reach a settlement with us, they will ensure that the school year will be disrupted.”

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Addison County Independent