Medford, Ore. -- The Medford Education Association overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike after a meeting to discuss options with the Oregon Education Association. After a almost a year of contract negotiations, teachers met at the Medford Ramada Inn Thursday night to discuss whether or not to go on strike.
They say the biggest issues they've been negotiating for are working conditions and pay.
We spoke with Cheryl Lashley, President of the MEA. The following is the statement she made live on NBC 5 News at 6.
"The teachers have overwhelmingly voted to support a strike. We hope as we enter bargaining tomorrow. The board understands how serious this crisis is for our community. We expect the district team to be prepared to negotiate on all issues with no more lines drawn in the sand. Our members have spoken. It's time for the board to invest in Medford teachers because that is what is best for our Medford students and the only way to avoid a strike. Thank you for your time and now I need to prepare for tomorrow's bargaining session," said Lashley.
NBC 5 News also spoke with the President of the Oregon Education Association, Hanna Vaandering.
"The next step is the district has asked the association to go to the table and bargain tomorrow. They will be going to the table and trying to find a resolution to this contract where students have a quality learning environment," said Vaandering.
"They're going to work with the district to find a path to a settlement. That's what we're focused on, is making sure we keep students in school and we keep these educators who want to be in their classroom with their students teaching. That's what they want," Vaandering continued.
"It's tie to create a learning environment in our schools where students can have access to a quality education and that's why or members are so excited about standing behind these members who are standing up for their students. We have 42,000 members across the state who believe in quality public education. That's not in the proposal the Medford School Board has offered. We're standing together to say we need to make sure we do the right thing for students. We're staying right there with them," finished Vaandering.
Medford Education Association president and the Oregon Education Association president both stressed that there is no date set as to when they will actually go on strike and that they plan to continue negotiations with the Medford School District.
We are still gathering information on this breaking news story. Stick with us on-air and online at http://kobi5.com