Cleveland's 10,000 public school employes defied a judge's back-to-work order yesterday and vowed to remain on strike until they get an acceptable contract.
The month-old Cleveland strike, which has halted the education of 101,000 pupils, is the largest and longest of walkouts that curtailed the schooling of 300,000 students in 10 states.
Virtually no teachers or support personnel showed up at Cleveland school.Principals found doors locked against them, apparently by the strikers.
Efforts to open schools in the early days of the strike were foiled when doors were locked and chained shut, keeping administrators out of the schools and forcing them to call off classes.
Judge Harry A. Hanna initially resisted demands for a back-to-work order. Instead, he directed the school board to revise its budget to provide pay hikes for strikers. Hanna then ordered marathon negotiations.
The Cleveland school board, which at first said it has no money for raises, revamped its budget. Its proposal apparently was far short of the 20 percent pay increase demanded by strikers, who had gone two years without a raise while the district fought off bankruptcy.
A tentative agreement was reached Monday. Hanna immediately ordered strikers to accept the pact, return to work yesterday and open classes Monday. He said pupils would suffer "irreparable harm" if the strike continued. Hanna warned that each striker who defied his order would face a heavy fine.
In Tucson, negotiators for striking teachers expressed optimism that progress was being made in negotiations to end their strike, which began Monday and affected 57,000 students, but schools officials charged the strike was hampering contract negotiations.
Tacoma, Wash., teachers ratified a new contract Wednesday, ending a month-long strike. Other strikes were reported in Ohio and in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.