(WBEN) Today and again tomorrow, Buffalo teachers will hold informational pickets outside their schools, before they enter for the first day of work. .
Teachers return to the classroom Tuesday for the first of two preparation days, before students begin classes on Thursday. On those days when students are there, teachers will be outside their buildings to protest the lack of a contract.
Teachers from at least 17 schools have picked up picket signs, and will be outside their buildings for a half hour prior to the start of preparation days on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a BTF memo.
" As the progress toward a new contract proceeds, it is critical that Buffalo teachers continue to demonstrate the undiminished solidarity for which they are known and widely respected," BTF President Phil Rumore wrote, in the picketing instructions sent out at the end of August.
A state mediator from the Public Employees Relations Board is expected to issue a factfinder's report within two weeks that could outline issues that the Board of Education and the Teacher's union could agree on in negotiations.
"We do not plan that these solidarity actions will take place for long. We expect to have a contract in place quickly. If not, other actions may become necessary," Rumore wrote in his letter to teachers advising them on picket procedures.
The union also has plans to picket various school board members' homes later this year.
During the campaign for board member seats, several who were elected suggested that securing a contract with the teacher's should be a priority. Interim Supt. Donald Ogilvie tells WBEN he agrees with the growing board consensus that a new contract should be negotiated, including raises in exchange for more flexible work rules on things like a longer school day or school year.
Rumore says teachers have not had a contract in ten years, and the resulting lack of raises leaves them on average $20,000 behind their colleagues with equal seniority in other districts.