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Teacher strike delayed-for now

A strike by teachers of the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union teachers was delayed last week for the time being. Union negotiators said a strike would likely take place if a new round of negotiations failed to find the parties in agreement.

A strike was first announced when the ANESU schoolboards placed a contract on teachers beginning last year. However, events last month led to the strike threat. Teachers do not like the way ANESU's incremental pay increases were presented to them; they also do not like the increased burden of health-insurance costs.

Several members of the schoolboards did not like teacher pay raises noting that most taxpayers have not had automatic pay increases at their jobs. Others said a strike by teachers would have negative effects in the community.

Parents have mixed feelings about the idea of a ANESU teacher strike.

At several public venues last month-inlcuding a picket by teachers in downtown Bristol - several parents expressed support for teachers; others did not.

Single-mother Mary Egen Williamson, of Bristol, expressed her concern about the effects a strike would have on her three children as well as on the local community.

"Idon't think going on strike is a good thing to do right now,"Williamson said. "Many of us haven't seen paycheck increases since 2007. Sure most teachers work hard, but there's a perception that they are unyielding in tough times. I would say they are most lucky to be employed. I pay for more of my own health costs-why can't they pay more of their own?"

Negotiations between teachers and the schoolboards continued this week.

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