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Negotiations resume less than a week before potential Columbus teachers' strike

Union members hold protest signs outside school board. They read, CSS: Don't walk away from out students, return to the bargaining table.
Matt Rand
Columbus Education Association members hold signs outside of the Columbus Board of Education on July 27, 2022.

Negotiations restarted Tuesday between the Columbus school board and its teachers' union.

Less than a week remains to reach a contract agreement before teachers say they'll go on strike. Another meeting is set for Thursday.

"This is not a salary driven dispute. This is an accountability driven dispute. We want the district to be accountable for the promises they made," said Columbus Education Association spokeswoman Regina Fuentes.

The Columbus school board has claimed the Columbus Education Association has spread misinformation about the negotiations.

In an unfair labor practice charge filed with the state, the board said CEA failed to bargain in good faith regarding compensation, stating that the union made an initial proposal on March 28 for pay raises of eight percent over the next three years.

Fuentes disputes that claim, saying economic issues such as pay still haven't been discussed.

"This feels like a tactic to try and negotiate through the media and discredit what we're trying to do," she said.

The school board did not comment for this story.

The union, which represents more than 4,000 teachers and other school staff, is set Sunday to either ratify a new contract or vote to go on strike starting Monday.

Matthew Rand is the Morning Edition host for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides daily talk show.