By Sylvia Maria Gross
Kansas City, MO – About a hundred Kansas City, Missouri teachers packed the board conference room at district headquarters yesterday evening. They were protesting the upcoming termination of their contract on June 30th.
CIAFULLO: They need to know that this is the worst time to have a labor dispute in this community.
Outside 1211 McGee, state teacher's union leader Scott Ciafullo said Kansas City teachers needed to be ready to mobilize during contract negotiations throughout the summer. Union leaders say the district has never terminated teachers' contracts before negotiations were finished. But since last year's Missouri Supreme Court decision strengthened the union's collective bargaining power, the district does not want to automatically renew what will be a binding contract. School board member Arthur Benson says the contract was only valid until June 30th.
BENSON: They want to extend this contract to give them more leverage and we don't want to do it that way. We want to have a collaborative partnership agreement with our teachers where there's balance.
Union leaders and district officials say they intend to continue negotiating in July, but other rallies are also planned.