Fairland school year to begin Aug. 26

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 18, 2002

Fairland students will get another week to sleep late in the mornings. In a special meeting, the Board of Education Saturday voted to push back the start of classes until Aug. 26.

Fairland Superintendent Jerry McConnell said the strike by non-certified employees has delayed remodeling and construction work at Fairland East and West Elementaries and at Fairland High School.

Workers with BBL Construction, the contractor for the projects, refuse to cross the picket lines established by the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) Local 345.

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Last Tuesday, Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Frank McCown issued a 14 day restraining order restricting picketers from the entrances of the construction sites, to allow construction workers access to the sites and time to complete their projects.

McConnell said workers showed up Wednesday and Thursday but did not appear to be making any progress in their work. No construction workers showed up Friday.

"We’ve been told for months this was their plan," McConnell said. "We’ve been told their tactic was to shut down construction, and it’s working."

McConnell said the board has requested a meeting with representatives from the Ohio School Facilities Commission and BBL Construction to discuss the impasse

Local 345 President Fred Workman said the work delay at the schools has nothing to do with the strike.

"Look at those buildings," Workman said. "Do they look a week away from being finished? Look at the West building, the windows aren’t even in and there’s a construction dumpster still there. This has nothing to do with the strike."

Workman suggested that if parents are angry with the school delay they should call McConnell and school board members and express their outrage about the situation.

The union went on strike Aug. 12 after contract talks between the two sides broke down. Union members have requested that fair share and binding arbitration be included in the new contract, and have said they are willing to forego pay raises and other forms of monetary compensation to get these two items.

Board members have offered the union a pay raise and signing bonus will not agree to fair share or binding arbitration. Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune