Pueblo D60 teachers give notice of intent to strike

PUEBLO, Colo. - District 60 teachers in Pueblo have filed a notice with the Department of Labor saying they intend to strike.

The Department of Labor has 20 days to intervene, but if it doesn't, then the teachers plan on going ahead with the strike, according to Pueblo Education Association President Suzanne Ethredge.

The announcement comes just a day after the district rejected a cost-of-living and health insurance adjustments, according to our partners at The Pueblo Chieftain.

Ethredge said Friday that teachers feel they're not respected by the district and that Thursday's move further solidified that feeling.

The district said it denied the raise to stay financially stable. So far this year, the district has announced a switch to a four-day workweek in an effort to save money, including a "corresponding and appropriate reduction in the number of teachers and other staff to meet budgetary constraints."

"We've looked for every penny to give back what we could, without being irresponsible," Bobby Gonzales said. "That's what we were elected for. When you get in this position, there's a lot of responsibility that goes with it."

However, one board member who voted in favor of the raises, Dennis Maes, said that move to a four-day week would save the district $1.5 million.

Ethredge said there is potential for this to be a long-term walkout.

The Pueblo City Schools Board of Education responded with a statement Friday, saying the 3-2 vote split "indicates just how difficult and heart-wrenching it was. It in no way reflects on how much we respect our teachers and acknowledge the need to compensate them fairly."

"We respectfully request that we work together to develop a budget and contract language for 2018-2019 based on the newly adopted four-day workweek that was strongly supported by all stakeholders," the board said.

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