I would like to clear up a few issues about the recent OAPSE strike in the Buckeye Local School District.
First of all, I was one of six members of the OAPSE negotiating team. We found that over the course of the last few months that a majority of the public did not quite understand what was happening and why. The negotiation process can be confusing if you are not familiar with the protocal. It also does not help when important information is not reported.
I was disappointed in the small article that Bubba Kapral had in the paper last Sunday about our negotiations. I understand that it is an opinion page and he is certainly entitled to his opinion. I do wish that he had more information on that subject before he wrote his article. Mr. Kapral, as you stated, "it would have been a shame for students to start the school year amidst a strike."
Our OAPSE union and the board of education had been negotiating for a year and a half. This means that we were negotiation a contract that we were already halfway through. When the majority of the school board voted to implement a contract before we could vote on it, we were backed into a corner. After voting and rejecting said contract we voted to strike. At this point we could not "remain on the job while talks continue" as you suggested. That could no longer happen. We worked very hard to get this contract resolved, approved and avoid a strike. We have the best interests of our union members and the students we serve at heart during this entire process. We work and live in this district. Our own children attend(ed) these schools. We never wanted to go on strike. However, we had to stand up for our bargaining rights. Thankfully these issues have been resolved and there will be no strike.
I would personally like to thank other OAPSE unions in our neighboring school districts as well as OAPSE unions across the state of Ohio for pledging their support to us. I would also like to thank the United Steelworkers Local 1223 for their support and use of their union hall. It is truly a wonderful thing to see what can happen when we all stand united!