Deja Vu Again?

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The Marietta teachers’ strike of September of 1986 was the second in eight years. The first, in 1979, lasted one week. The '86 strike lasted one month. On the first day, even with substitute teachers taking over classes, students told us confusion reigned in school buildings.

Marietta High School Student: The substitutes were trying to keep some kind of control, but they just couldn't.

A statement from Olaf O'Dell, Marietta Education Association official in 1986 says, “We don't seem to be able to agree on some items without this type of thing taking place; other school systems do.”

But a year later, a Beverly community already torn over a labor dispute at globe metallurgical company, was hit by a Fort Frye teachers strike, which lasted several weeks. As in the Marietta strike a year earlier, striking teachers made the school's superintendent a target of the dispute, which also centered on wages and benefits.

Cathy Sprague, President of the Fort Frye Education Association in 1987: They have spent $10,000 for security. All of this money is being spent not for education, but to break this union.

It's believed the wounds from the Marietta strike took years to heal. While voters always have their own reasons for saying no, it took four years and a change of leadership before the district could get an operating levy approved.

Interestingly, Belpre was the only Washington County district not affected by a teachers strike since the 19-80's. And while teachers haven't yet taken a strike vote, the more they work without a contract, the more that option could be exercised.