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More than 100 OAPSE members go on strike

Photo Credit: AFSCME Local 51, OAPSE
More than 100 OAPSE members go on strike
By Ezra Kane-Salafia ·

COLUMBUS, Ohio – More than 100 members of AFSCME Local 51 (Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE)/AFSCME Local 4) walked off the job this week.

A proposal by the management of Morgan Local Schools in Morgan County would not bring workers anywhere near parity with neighboring districts over the life of the contract. After working without a contract since July 2022, workers went on went on strike early Wednesday morning.

Inflation is pushing many Morgan Local Schools workers and their families to the brink. OAPSE members said they wouldn’t accept less than 6%, 5% and 5% over the next three years.

That’s a major compromise from the 27% raise needed to bring them into parity with neighboring districts with comparable revenue. Some nearby districts pay as much as $9 more per hour for the same job, according to OAPSE.

“There is a neighboring school district that has a comparable annual revenue to Morgan Local School District, and to make what they make now in 2026, it would have to be 9 (%)-9-9 nine across the board. And  we would still be three years behind them, because they’re making that now,” Michelle Maxwell, a bus driver, told WTAP news.

OAPSE members were upset that the school district was pushing them to this point.

“These kids are so important to us. We don’t want to be away from them. We just want fairness,” said Brenda Roberts, a cook.

The superintendent, who received a 14.4% raise last year and earns $143,000, rejected the 6% pay raise proposal that the workers offered for the first year of the contract.

According to Local 51 President Tom Quaintance, members earn an average annual salary of $23,500. A 6% raise would’ve put an additional $118 more per month in their paychecks.

The school district’s negotiating team will not return to the table until March 10, forcing students to learn remotely until then.

At a rally late last month, more than 200 students, parents, and community members showed their strong support for the members of Local 51, who work as bus drivers, classroom and health aides, mechanics, maintenance workers, custodians, food service employees and secretaries.

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