Teachers, support staff unions announce intention to strike Tuesday

Sep 13, 2019

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District was issued notice Friday evening that employees plan to strike starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday.
Bargaining teams for the district and associations representing teachers and support staff met Thursday afternoon in a continued effort to reach an agreement on a proposal to split health insurance costs. That sticking point is holding up a contract that has been under negotiation for more than a year and a half.
In a press release issued Friday night, the district stated surprise over the strike notification, as it was planning a counteroffer to the unions’ latest proposal.
Union representatives, though, said they aren’t waiting.
“We have said since May that we don’t want to strike, but we will,” said David Brighton, president of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association, in a statement issued Friday. “We have been bargaining for 575 days and the district still doesn’t seem to understand how incredibly important healthcare is to our members. If they won’t listen to us at the table, we’ll take our message to the community. Until the district is willing to accept our reasonable proposal, we will exercise our legal right to strike.”
A strike would mean all district schools will be closed, including the Connections homeschool program and distance-delivered programs. Sports and all before- and after-school activities will be canceled. School facilities will be closed for all community uses, as well — meaning pool, gym and theater closures, community schools programs and Boys and Girls Club programs that meet at schools.
Missed school days have to be made up and would be added to the end of the school year in May.
The district will begin daily communications with parents and staff about the closures Saturday.