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First Teachers' Strike Since 1978 in Wyoming Area School District

Teachers in the Wyoming Area School District hit the picket lines Tuesday.
Teachers in the Wyoming Area School District of Luzerne County are walking the picket lines for the first time since 1978. Wages, a proposed wage freeze and health care are the major stumbling blocks. Melissa Dolman, The President of the Wyoming Area Education Association, told Eyewitness News, "We are not being offered raises since their are already built in raises from our previous contract based on step movement and high education credits. We did not want to do this and held off as long as possible. The School Board refuses to negotiate in good faith and in fact walked out of our last meeting." Dolman added, "We understand the frustration of the parents but that frustration should be directed at the School Board and not the Union." Attorney Jack Dean, the chief negotiator for the district told this reporter, "The Union keeps moving the bar. Every time we are told an issue is resolved they move the bar to another level. There is no more money in the balance fund. Even our latest offer will mean a tax hike for residents."  Mindy Rooney and her daughter Victoria of West Pittston spent the day at home instead of at school or work because of the teachers' strike. Mindy told Eyewitness News, "I just hope this ends soon just give the teachers what they want this is really going to hurt the kids." Her daughter added, "I really want to go back to school I was just having fun and learning more about the high school. "   NO new talks are scheduled. Teachers say they will remain on the picket line until September 30 unless an agreement is reached. Teachers can strike only until there is not enough time to make up state mandated 180 days of classroom instruction.


(Andy Mehalshick reports from Eyewitness News at Five and Six)
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