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Teachers Set Strike Date

Union President Mary Armstrong
Union President Mary Armstrong

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – St. Louis teachers will go on strike in less than two weeks if they cannot come to terms on a contract with the St. Louis Public Schools.

Teachers' union president Mary Armstrong said ongoing negotiations with the school board are not achieving any results, and the union will strike January 19th if a compromise is not reached.

"The district would meet with us until June, because that's all the state requires--meet and confer," Armstrong said. "And we have been meeting. We have come back to the table. To meet to just be meeting and to have no movement whatsoever taking place-how long are we supposed to meet?"

Armstrong said the biggest issues for the union are medical benefits and salaries. The length of the school day and year are also high on their list.

But the teachers' setting of a strike date came as a surprise to school board attorney Jim Hetlage.

"We felt the meet and confer process was going well, and we were making progress and we were discussing lots of important points, from compensation to health insurance, to length of the school day for students," Hetlage said.

Teachers would be in violation of Missouri law if they strike. But Hetlage said the board has made no plans to bring legal action against the union if there is a walkout.