Buffalo Teachers say 12 years is enough -- and they took their message to Niagara Square Thursday to picket ahead of a regularly scheduled Buffalo School Board of Education meeting.
More than 3500 teachers stood outside city hall with signs and chanting, and at one point their picket blocked traffic in Niagara Square.
— Hannah Buehler (@HannahBuehler) September 28, 2016
Bargaining between the teachers federation and the District has been ongoing for more than 12 years, as teachers have been working without a contract. Officials say this week, things looked promising, until there was a setback.
"We got to the last session and we made an offer and they said it's too expensive so we got up and left," said Phil Rumore, Buffalo Teachers Federation President.
The main sticking point with the teachers is wages. Teachers say they're not being compensated equally to other suburban districts in Erie County, and say they're about $25,000 behind in salary.
The District says what the teachers want is unconscionable and too expensive. A proposal outlined at Wednesday's board meeting includes a 10% increase to the salary schedule in year one, and a 3% increase in year two. It also includes a one time bonus and an attendance incentive. The District's proposal would get rid of the cosmetic surgery rider, modify the school day to include longer hours and add two days to the school year. Teachers would also be required to pay for a percentage of their healthcare, which they don't currently do.
The teachers aren't ready to agree.
"If it wasn't for the teachers, the City school district would be in worse shape than it is now," said Rumore.
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