Strike by Butte school administrators ends
BUTTE (AP) — A judge signed an order Thursday to temporarily end a strike by Butte public school administrators that shuttered schools and threatened Butte High School's participation in several varsity sporting events this weekend.
The Montana Standard reports that District Judge Brad Newman signed the order at the request of several Butte School District parents. The judge said the injunction does not compel the two sides to mediate their differences but simply opens schools.
JPhoto by Walter Hinick/Montana Standard
Judy Jonart, the curriculum director for Butte School District 1 mans the picket line Thursday afternoon in front of the school administration building on North Montana Street as the school administrators strike over salary increases went into day three shortly before Butte-Silver Bow District Court Judge Brad Newman issued a temporary restraining order allowing children to return to class Friday morning.
"It does not end the labor dispute," he said. "That's between the parties."
The injunction also restricts Teamster's Local No. 2, which represents the administrators, from picketing the schools and restricts the school district from closing its facilities.
All elementary, middle and high schools in Butte will reopen Friday morning, and all extra-curricular activities can resume immediately.
Contract talks broke down Tuesday and 15 administrators, including principals, assistant principals and directors, went on strike. Teachers who also are members of the Teamsters Local No. 2 said they would not cross picket lines, and the public schools were closed.
The temporary order is in effect until Sept. 16 when a hearing has been scheduled in District Court. At that hearing, Newman could enjoin a more permanent stay, compel both sides to negotiate or lift the injunction.
Attorney Wayne Harper, who filed for the injunction on behalf of the parents, says "our goal is the same as everybody else in town.
"We want both sides to get together and try to work this stuff out."
The striking administrators were seeking the same percentage raise that non-union administrators are set to receive.
The school district offered a 2 percent raise on administrators' base salary in addition to their guaranteed raises for experience, which would amount to at least a 4.4 percent annual raise. The union countered last Friday with a proposal to accept a 1 percent raise for this year while maintaining their request for the 4 percent raise based on experience.
School district trustees said non-union administrators, including the superintendent, are in line for a 6 percent increase once the administrators reach a contract.
The strike canceled classes at six elementary schools, a middle school and the high school.