Hearing on teacher anti-strike bill set for Thursday

The Neshaminy School District, mired in a contract impasse with its teachers for more than three-and-a-half years, will host a state hearing Thursday on a bill that would make teacher strikes and school lockouts illegal.

The Pennsylvania House Education Committee, chaired by Rep. Paul Clymer, R-Bucks, will discuss House Bill 1369 at Neshaminy High School starting at 10 a.m. The hearing is open to the public.

State Rep. Paul Clymer.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin, contains financial penalties, including a $5,000 individual fine, per incident, for inciting a strike; striking teachers losing two days of pay for each day of an illegal strike; and the striking union forfeiting its dues check-off privilege for one year.  

In the past decade, Pennsylvania has led the country with 94 teacher strikes, affecting 247,000  students, according to Rock’s web site. Thirty-seven states, including New Jersey, prohibit teacher strikes.

In June, the 700 members of the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers overwhelmingly authorized leadership to call a strike in the state’s longest current impasse. The district is about to start its fourth year without a contract, and teachers have not gotten a pay raise since 2007.

Leaders of the union and the school board are expected to speak at the hearing, in addition to representatives of the  American Federation of Teachers, the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and the Commonwealth Foundation.

The high school is at 2001 Old Lincoln Highway in Langhorne.