ZANESVILLE, Ohio- The Zanesville Education Association (ZEA) held a unity rally today outside the Administration building that addressed better student resources and fair health benefits for the staff.
For the past four to five months, the ZEA has been negotiating a contract with the Zanesville City School Board and now that the contract has expired, Natashia Woerner, the ZEA External Communications Liaison, hopes to get a fair contract out of the unity rally.
“We’re hoping, as a union, to get equal resources for our students, no matter what building that they’re in, especially for our kindergarten through third grade students who we feel need the most support at this time,” Woerner said.
During the rally, participants shouted chants, while holding signs and discussed the effects of cutting health benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They’re hoping to make some cuts to our insurance in order to save some money, the way I understand it, and we don’t feel that’s fair during a pandemic to ask for us to take some concessions in our insurance,” Woerner added.
Brian Swope, former Zanesville School Board member stated in an email that the school board and taxpayers pay an average per employee of over $22,000.00 a year for benefits, which is more than any other surrounding district. Swope also said the benefits are not being cut, but staff is being asked to pay more towards those benefits.
However, Woerner explained from her understanding that if a staff member is given a raise the extra cost that is being paid for the insurance won’t be an even trade and they’ll be taking a hit when it comes to aspects of living.
A meeting was also held after the unity rally due to this impasse.