More than 7,000 teachers were on strike over contract disputes in eight states Wednesday, leaving nearly 118,000 students without classes or in abbreviated sessions.
"We are talking everything--salaries and fringe benefits," Barbara R. Goda, president of the Schuylkill Valley Teacher's Assn. in Pennsylvania, said of negotiations in her district.
Besides the strikes in Pennsylvania--the hardest hit with 14 walkouts by 3,456 teachers--public school teachers' strikes occurred in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington state, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
Walkouts spread into higher education also. The 426-member faculty union at the private Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey walked out Wednesday, but about 40% of classes met for the opening day with 14,000 students. Elsewhere in New Jersey, teachers in 111 of the state's 571 school districts are beginning the school year without contracts.
More Strikes Threatened
The 118-member faculty association at Roger Williams College in Rhode Island voted to strike, but classes do not resume until today. And 1,325 instructors at Wayne State University in Michigan held classes Wednesday for a second day without a contract as bargaining continued.
More strikes are threatened in Michigan at 10 school districts and two community colleges, Bill Davison of the Michigan Education Assn. said.
But, in Rhode Island, contract agreements Wednesday averted strikes in public schools in North Smithfield and Cumberland, although East Greenwich was forced to cancel classes on the first day of school because of a strike.
In Marietta, Ohio, the Board of Education doubled the salary for substitute teachers, to $100 a day, and hired security officers for school buildings after 240 teachers walked out Wednesday, a week after schools opened and talks broke down.
Marietta school officials vowed to keep buildings open for the district's 4,200 students despite the strike, but the president of the bus drivers' union said buses were carrying only 50% to 75% of capacity.