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Rock: No winners in Tuscarora teachers strike

September 03, 2008

MERCERSBURG, Pa. -- State Rep. Todd Rock said Tuesday morning that his offices have received dozens of phone calls, e-mails and visitors expressing concern about the teachers strike in Tuscarora School District.

One woman shared that her children's time with their father would be affected because their custody agreement called for the children to spend Christmas break with him, Rock said.

"Students should not be involved in a negotiation. This should be negotiations between adults -- between the board and the union," he said.

Rock, R-Franklin, had been both a masonry teacher and school board member before taking office in January 2007.

"I've seen the aftermath of a strike, and there are no winners," Rock said, saying he personally has never been involved in an active strike.

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Rock sponsored legislation called the "strike-free education pact." The bill went to the labor relations committee in July 2007 and has not emerged from that committee for a vote.

The legislation would make school strikes and lockouts illegal and require public hearings every six weeks.

"It still allows for everything you have right now: mediation, fact-finding, arbitration," Rock said.

The bill has attracted more than 30 co-sponsors, he said.

Rock said that unions and strikes might serve a purpose in the private sector, but they don't belong in schools.

"What it comes down to is that teachers are going to be paid what the community can afford because it's all tax dollars," he said.

Documents supporting the bill state that 33,000 Pennsylvania children were affected by strikes in the 2006-07 school year.

-- Jennifer Fitch

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