PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The sight of teachers striking makes the blood of many parents boil.
Some even held a counter-protest in one local school district last fall.
“Anytime that educators walk away from the kids that they’re supposed to care about, my kids don’t understand,” said Bethel Park parent Jamie Noel.
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry Township, says it’s time to ban teacher strikes in Pennsylvania and he and other legislators have a bill to do just that.
“Thirty-seven out of 50 states do not allow for teachers strikes and Pennsylvania needs to become the 38th,” he says.
Bills like Metcalfe’s have been around for years, but he thinks recent strikes have helped his cause.
“We have more momentum this time around than we’ve ever had in the past.”
John Tarka leads the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers.
“It seems very similar to some of the efforts that we’ve seen in other states across the country to really diminish or eliminate the rights of middle class people to bargain for medical benefits, for their salary, for other issues,” says Tarka.
And Dan Carey of the Pennsylvania State Education Association says the right to strike leads to contracts that retain the best teachers.
“In states that don’t have bargaining, it’s not unusual for new teachers to leave the profession early,” he said.
Metcalfe believes banning teacher strikes will take public support.
“It is an uphill battle,” he says. “It has been for a long time. The power of the teachers’ union is almost second to none in Pennsylvania politics.”
While it’s very unlikely that any bill to ban teacher strikes will pass the legislature any time soon, just the very talk of such a ban is likely to impact school negotiations in 2011-2012 school year.