School district employees vote to strike

A week after contract negotiations with the school district hit a standstill, peninsula educators and staff have voted to strike.

In a Facebook post published Wednesday night, the Kenai Peninsula Education Association reported that more than 75% of certified staff voted “yes” on a walkout.

The move comes a week after the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and two education associations — the Kenai Peninsula Education Association and Kenai Peninsula Educational Support Association — were unable to come to a bargaining agreement.

For over a year, contract negotiations have snagged on the rising cost of health care. A previous agreement effective through June 2018 remains in use for employees without contracts.

In its Facebook post, the Education Association said that the bargaining team will continue to negotiate with the school district.

David Brighton, president of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association, told the Clarion last week the strike would take place at the beginning of the school year. The association plans to hold meetings over the summer to prepare employees on how to strike successfully, he said. The associations are required to give the district a 72-hour notice ahead of any strike. District employees cannot be fired for participating in a legal strike.