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HomeNewsArchivesAFT LEADERS DECLARE 'STRIKE' IF NO NEW PACT

AFT LEADERS DECLARE 'STRIKE' IF NO NEW PACT

Teachers in both school districts have announced their intent to strike after 72 hours, unless there is an agreement with the government to avert it. The word came during a mid-afternoon news conference Wednesday.
Vernelle de Lagarde, interim president of the St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers Local 1825 and Tyrone Molyneaux, president of the St. Croix chapter said the union filed notice with the government Wednesday. "We hereby serve a strike notice, it is the intent of both locals to strike," she said adding that the unions are "ready, willing and able to resolve the differences."
The teachers union, she said, considered the government's requirement that they forego more than $100 million in salaries negotiated previously, in exchange for a new contract, the main reason for the discontent. "The fact that members are losing retirement benefits is of concerns to us," De Lagarde said noting that teachers are still on a 1993 salary level.
Molyneaux reiterated the unions position that the requested compromise on retroactive pay is grossly unfair to teachers, and simply not acceptable. "This is a good deal for the government. Its unfair to ask the teachers to give up more than $120 million in benefits and only receive $8.6 million." He termed the tentative wage agreement as not fair or just for the membership.
Should teachers strike, as they have served notice they will, Molyneaux acknowledges that survival will be difficult. He called on parents and others to stand by teachers in their time of need. "The only thing we need are food, shelter and clothing. "If the strike goes past two weeks, there will be no paychecks, but we want the members to hang in there," he siad.
Given the hardships which striking teachers can expected during any prolonged strike,
De Lagarde said union members were sounded out in advance of the strike announcement to make certain that they were willing to sustain their earlier vote. "The numbers are there to support the strike," she added.
In response, Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds said she was not surprised by the announcement but remained optimistic that a resolution can be reached. "We are hopeful for a resolution to be arrived at which will head off this strike."
There has been no response from Gov. Charles W. Turnbull in response to the announcement. Turnbull said there will be one in "due time."

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Teachers in both school districts have announced their intent to strike after 72 hours, unless there is an agreement with the government to avert it. The word came during a mid-afternoon news conference Wednesday.
Vernelle de Lagarde, interim president of the St. Thomas-St. John Federation of Teachers Local 1825 and Tyrone Molyneaux, president of the St. Croix chapter said the union filed notice with the government Wednesday. "We hereby serve a strike notice, it is the intent of both locals to strike," she said adding that the unions are "ready, willing and able to resolve the differences."
The teachers union, she said, considered the government's requirement that they forego more than $100 million in salaries negotiated previously, in exchange for a new contract, the main reason for the discontent. "The fact that members are losing retirement benefits is of concerns to us," De Lagarde said noting that teachers are still on a 1993 salary level.
Molyneaux reiterated the unions position that the requested compromise on retroactive pay is grossly unfair to teachers, and simply not acceptable. "This is a good deal for the government. Its unfair to ask the teachers to give up more than $120 million in benefits and only receive $8.6 million." He termed the tentative wage agreement as not fair or just for the membership.
Should teachers strike, as they have served notice they will, Molyneaux acknowledges that survival will be difficult. He called on parents and others to stand by teachers in their time of need. "The only thing we need are food, shelter and clothing. "If the strike goes past two weeks, there will be no paychecks, but we want the members to hang in there," he siad.
Given the hardships which striking teachers can expected during any prolonged strike,
De Lagarde said union members were sounded out in advance of the strike announcement to make certain that they were willing to sustain their earlier vote. "The numbers are there to support the strike," she added.
In response, Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds said she was not surprised by the announcement but remained optimistic that a resolution can be reached. "We are hopeful for a resolution to be arrived at which will head off this strike."
There has been no response from Gov. Charles W. Turnbull in response to the announcement. Turnbull said there will be one in "due time."