CHUH School District Moves to Strip Healthcare from Striking Teachers

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 27, 2020
Contact: Karen Rego, CHTU President, 216-321-0020, krego@chtu.org
Neil Bhaerman, OFT Communications Director, 412-266-4899, nbhaerman@oft-aft.org
 

School District Moves to Strip Healthcare from Striking Teachers

 
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH —The Board of Education for Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District (CH-UH) voted earlier this week to strip healthcare from teachers, counselors, nurses, and other school support professionals immediately when they begin their strike on Dec. 2. 
 
The teachers, members of Cleveland Heights Teachers Union (CHTU), filed a 10 day notice last week for a strike to begin on Wednesday, December 2, if a fair contract settlement isn’t reached. This decision follows months of bargaining sessions and a strike authorization vote that passed with a 97.5% majority of members. 
 
“This outrageous move by our Board of Education is a heavy-handed attempt to quash our collective action by taking away our health insurance during the peak of a global pandemic,” said CHTU President Karen Rego. “We made the hard decision to plan for a strike to protect the quality health insurance that we have gained over the years by forgoing wage increases, and now the district is seeking to punish us by eliminating our healthcare altogether.”
 
The strike was called after the district unilaterally imposed the terms of their final contract proposal, which will raise healthcare premiums to 250% of the current rate, while also reducing other compensation by 1%. For many CHTU members that adds up to a $3,000-$5,000 loss in total compensation.
 
“Union-busting takes many forms, including retaliation against workers who are exercising their constitutional right to take collective action in the workplace,” said Tim Burga, President of the Ohio AFL-CIO. “To have a school district say it will take away health care for teachers as a tactical weapon is shameful.  The labor movement calls on the school district to stop with such threats and start negotiating in good faith”. 
 
“The aggressive concessions that the district is forcing on us will have a long-term negative impact on our students,” said CHTU 1st Vice-President Ari Klein. “They deserve a school district that can recruit and retain the best educators, and we’ll keep fighting for them regardless of what our district throws at us.”
 
“With teachers, faculty and staff already under increased strain to provide the best education possible amid a global pandemic, our educators shouldn’t have to also worry about reduced benefits and paying more for their healthcare,” said Senator Sherrod Brown.  “I believe everyone involved in these negotiations shares the same goal of helping students get a quality education during these unprecedented times. That’s why I’m urging the school district to head back to the negotiating table to reach an equitable agreement that allows everyone to focus on student success.”
 
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The Cleveland Heights Teachers Union (CHTU) represents 500 teachers, counselors, school nurses, and other school support professionals, united to support quality education in our community. CHTU is affiliated with the Ohio Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers.