Little Rock teachers union to hold one-day strike

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS (AP) – Little Rock teachers will strike for one day this week over an Arkansas panel’s decision to strip their collective bargaining power and complaints about state control of the 23,000-student district, union officials said last Thursday.

The strike will be only the second time teachers have walked out of the job in Arkansas history.

The Little Rock Education Association’s announcement comes after the state Board of Education in October voted to no longer recognise the union when the contract expired on October 31.

Union leaders are calling for the state to give them back their bargaining power. Before the contract ended on October 31, the Little Rock School District had been the only one in Arkansas where a teachers union had collective bargaining power.

The union also wants to see full local control of the district restored. Arkansas has run Little Rock’s schools since the state board took over the district in January 2015 because of low test scores at several schools.

The state board has voted to put the district under a local board that will be elected in November 2020, but with limits on its authority.

The strike will occur the day the state panel is expected to vote on establishing the zones for the new local board.

The only other teachers strike in Arkansas was in 1987, when Little Rock students missed six days of school before a new two-year contract was approved.