Oregon Public Broadcasting

School employees in Eagle Point, near Medford, are on strike. Union members have been on picket lines since 6 a.m. Tuesday, as negotiators approach 24 hours straight of contract talks.

Eagle Point schools are closed Tuesday. Administrators plan to keep them closed all week, if there's no agreement.

jamieluschstrikephoto_small.jpgTeachers on the picket line. Courtesy Jamie Lusch, Medford Mail Tribune.

District human resources director Michael Remick says the district is preparing to re-open schools next week, whether the strike is over or not.

Remick explained, "Part of the reason for that is we are bringing in our teachers, who are already our employees, who want to work, and we've got quite a few of those. We have several of our schools that are already fully-staffed and ready to go."

But union president, Dave Carrell, says the fact that schools won't re-open until next week means the strike is having an effect.

Carrell said, "To me, it sounds like they are having a hard time finding enough subs, to fulfill their needs. And I feel like the pressure is working and they're scrambling."

The three main sticking points relate to teacher time, potential sub-contracting of certain jobs, and compensation. Union and district negotiators met in sub-committees overnight. Both sides say progress was being made on the sub-contracting issue.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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