Abington Heights Teachers on Strike

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CLARKS SUMMIT -- Teachers in one of the largest school districts in our area hit the picket lines Tuesday morning. There is no school in the Abington Heights School District.

We found teachers picketing outside South Abington Elementary School in the Clarks Summit area Tuesday.

Negotiations failed between teachers and the district last week.

At least it was a nice day for Abington Heights students to be out of class, the first day of a teachers' strike that could last most of the month.

We found families making the best of it at South Abington Park near Clarks Summit, but they were the first to admit that a strike can be challenging for moms, dads, and students.

"I have a son that has special needs, so it's been a little bit tricky because he has autism and we just got into the schedule of getting into school and now we're going to have to stop and get back into the schedule again. Transitions are hard for autistic kids so it makes it a little bit trickier for him," Sarah Sespico said.

Teachers picketed at three district buildings for a few hours in the morning before meeting in the afternoon.

Union President Tim Moher says the teachers and the administration are most at odds over paying health care premiums.

"What the school board has been proposing to us is increases to our health care costs but no salary increase. And that's a net loss for my members and it's just not something I can ask them to do," Moher said.

Abington Heights Superintendent Michael Mahon says the administration is asking teachers to pay $80 a month toward health care coverage. They do not pay a monthly premium now.

The district had a $1 million deficit last year.

"The reality is that costs keep escalating, pension costs, employee costs, and a big part of the employee cost is medical benefits. So, yes, it is time for Abington Heights as a public school district to get up to date and start doing what everybody in our community has been doing for many, many years," said Mahon.

Both sides told us they are willing to negotiate at any time but the only scheduled meeting is for September 21.

Teachers at Abington Heights could potentially strike through most of this month.



  • Legalis Aquilae

    They left at 11:30 yesterday for “family commitments” as quoted in this morning’s article in the Times-Tribune. The Union is now stating on their facebook page that they are spending their afternoons doing community service. Curious, which is it? Is it worth having the students shuffled and families which represent your community paying daycare, babysitting, taking time off, putting jobs at risk to juggle children we expected to be in school? Sometimes you need to take a step backwards to move forward. Look at the BIG picture. Is less than $6 a week really worth it to ALL the teachers?

    • Sam I Am

      Well they can’t even get their lame story straight, community service yeah right, Like we will see them picking up litter on the side of the road, more likely their coffee cups from the restaurant across the street.
      And as far as family commitments go, maybe they have to go home and watch the children that are not in school because they are on strike, but then again A very small percentage of these teachers actually live in the community that pays them.

  • Morning_Joe

    How can the teachers and teacher’s union be so selfish to the tax payers as well as their hostage students?
    Paying $80.00 a month toward their health care should be a no brainer if they care about the students and taxpayers.

    How many other middle clas families are PAYING HIGH property taxes and HIGH health care benefits? Some are paying $1000.00 a month, So shameful….$80.00 a month….You people make me sick….

  • magicmikexxsm

    As long as we the people keep letting the teachers union hold the kids hostage then this will keep happening….Pa we the people need to change the rules of the game with our vote…we need to update how long the union can strike…decades ago they knocked it down to 2 weeks I believe , so now lets change it to 1 week or how about no strikes by the teachers unions, because they are public employees paid with tax money…until we step up our game this will keep going on.

  • Teachers Pet

    “I have a son that has special needs, so it’s been a little bit tricky because he has autism…..”
    Your first mistake is that you assume that this is about the kids but you’d be wrong. Its about the teachers and their unrealistic entitlement attitude. Interview in the real world and see how many companies don’t require you to pay a monthly insurance premium. None that I know of.
    In the end the administration will bend and the teachers will get their way. Deal done.

  • Mark McDevitt

    I know that some teachers don’t have a choice when it comes to a strike and don’t support one , but for those that do obviously don’t care about the students you teach , if you did you would not hold up their education. Most of the students do not want to be out of school due to a strike or anything else, why don’t you teachers strike in the summer so it will not effect them?

  • Mark McDevitt

    And when the teachers get their raises and their free health care where dose the money come from to pay for it ? It will come in higher taxes to be paid for by the taxpayer’s, and where do the taxpayers get the money to pay for higher taxes? Those that are on fixed incomes and those that are not don’t have that extra money aviavble to them, so they will have to give up something so teachers can have no cost or low cost health care .

    • Brown v. the Board of Education

      Very apparently, you did not study very hard when you were in school, and/or the teachers were on strike during English class. You are a dolt. You are troll and your more than likely are a loser. Go back to school.

      • E

        You obviously didn’t study in school either lol. You are A troll and YOU’RE more than likely a loser. You’re a typical NEPA local, you lack the education to realize your own stupidity.

      • magicmikexxsm

        BROWN V. THE BOARD OF EDUCATION lol you’re not the brightest bulb in the pack..so don’t make fun of other people…what Mark wrote is true, now kindly pull your head out of Hillary’s butt.

  • Legalis Aquilae

    The kids are suffering at the price of $80/month. How do you explain to little ones and even the older children that just started that we are stopping over at the end of the day is $300 after the salary increase or $5.77 a week? These babies are so young, how do you tell a 5/6 year old why school is out and we do not know for how long? They don’t understand and they think they did something wrong. The commentary from parents at the bus stops and activities about children being scolded for talking about the strike in schools or being ignored when questions asked, coming off buses wondering if they did or did not have school. Some kids being bombarded with work, to compensate the workload … how is this the AH way? Parents who want to advocate for their children, but have seen what has happened in the past so bite their tongues so their child does not feel the impact for their AH career. So saddened to hear and see this, this is not who or what AH is.

    In today’s society, companies are changing insurance, pensions, 401k to name a few annually and the middle class is losing annually but they do not have the luxury to walk off the job and at the same time impact 2000 plus children and how many families, and some struggling families, we all have to continue on. We believe that the majority have the best interest of the children, while the minority have their best interest in play. They have a great thing, we all get it, but there needs to be a point where reality sets in and you realize you have to catch up with what is happening around you.

    AH is the best … there is no doubt, but why are not all the teachers living in the district sending their kids to AH … Because they do not want to disrupt them but it is ok to disrupt our children? Can someone explain that, do you not have faith in your colleagues, after all they REALLY are the best we all agree with that!

    Back to School Carnival – teachers are usually seldom present and if so in small numbers, yet this year the largest teacher population is present and wearing their strike shirts, what kind of message is that to the children and community.

    Graduation – well at least they showed up this time nothing like those empty chairs and the people you hold in the highest regard … NOT SHOWING UP. The impact to the 2018 senior class this year, APPALLING!! Yet, teachers will cross the line to coach sports, but not help your seniors or your learning support students?

    How in good conscience with that all being said, are the children displaced and for some students that impact is greater than for others … Is there something the community, the tax payers, the parents, the students, the board missing … it is really worth impacting 2000 plus kids for $5.77/week … both the Board and the Union need to get back to the tables, and not in 9 days, suck it up mend fences, and sit in a room every day if you must to get this settled to show the community you are united, your AH proud, do it for the students.

    • PA Resident

      In an evolving world, where everyone pays for health insurance why should not the teachers. The conclusion is Its not about the kids and their education its about the teachers and their bottom line. I understand that they put a lot of work into what they do and appreciate what they do for our children and community, but something has to give. It’s 2017. Unions were around for good reasons decades ago. It’s not the same anymore.

      There is always cyber school. I hear they have a great curriculum. #cyber school I’m just really offended to see where my school tax dollars are going. Maybe an idea is for parents to get together and rally #parents against teacher strikes . Maybe this would get some attention. Whose going to pay for my child’s daycare because teachers are deciding that paying a premium for their health insurance is unnecessary so they decide to strike and not having my child in school. I pay taxes to have my kids in school, not to have them not in school then pay child care on top of it.

      One last comment is that if parents keep their children out of school, they are terrible parents and get reported to the district with the possibility of being reported to social services, but our teachers can strike and not have our children’s best interests in hand and not have repercussions.

  • Stan

    it looks like a party- not a strike. i wonder if they teach Greed 101 at this liberal indoctrination center ( aka AHSD )

  • Robert

    Cancel class then cancel sports. Done! The only thing going on in that district should be required maintenance to the buildings.

  • TrumpTrainOne

    every day I ask myself how did teachers become unionized? The school district is a non profit organization so how does a union get there sticky fingers involved in this!

  • Mr Ed

    Three months off in the summer. Snow days. Late starts for inclement weather. Christmas break. Easter break. A salary, benefits and retirement package well above the local median average. Yep….time to strike for more.

  • Jerry

    There were people in that picket line today making in excess of $50,000 per year with full benefits, a generous pension plan, summers off, etc. who still felt the need to protest for more. Disgraceful.

    • Lance

      Well said… these prima donnas act like the world owes them something because they are teachers. If they care so much about the students as they claim. Get back to work!

  • Sam I Am

    they are holding the students hostage, any other workplace can still provide product from another plant, unlike the students, we cannot just send them to another school why they walk the line.
    They are indeed using the students as leverage.

  • In a galaxy far far away

    It would be nice if all us taxpayers who have had our health insurance desimated form a picket line against the teachers! Why should they be isolated from the higher premiums, deductibles and co-payments that the private sector has had forced onto them for years. The magic property tax purse has to close! Why should they get benefits that are long gone from the people asked to pay the bill to maintain the teachers benefits? We need to fight back before we can no longer afford our homes. Suck it up like the rest of us have bern doing for years! Who the heck do you people think you are?

    • Sick of stupid people

      You know it’s your government in bed with big insurance company’s and their lobbyists that are driving up your premiums right???… Not people actually fighting for a actual living wage.

      • Think Positive

        They work a little over 75% of the year. They make more than many people, with a four year degree make who work 100% of the year. They get ample vacation time even during the school year, with fringe benefits galore, and more public “thanks and gratification” then almost ANY employee gets from their job. They’ve been asked to pay only a SMALL portion of Insurance Premium, compared to most people.

    • C

      You mean the property tax that hasn’t been increased in 9 years???

      And if they did accept the districts proposal and pay into the premiums, even with the proposed “raise” they would lose hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year. You would be ok with a pay cut at your job? You wouldn’t fight that?

      Get your facts straight before running your mouth.


      • Sam I Am

        Why would you care about taxes, a lot of the teachers do not live in the district as you well know.

        Diane Croom used to be a teacher in the AH district and involved in many strikes, and she lives in the N. Pocono district.
        The last I knew was that she is on the school board for NP and fighting against the union strikes.

        Such a hypocrite!!

      • Sam I Am

        Speaking of Ignorance

        Just a few weeks ago in the Scranton Times was an article on taxes, The AH school district was in the top 5 highest in our area, guess that you feel that the district should be higher for your benefit.

      • Steve

        You do not own your home if you have a mortgage. So, why should you be made to pay property tax on something you don’t own? The bank or mortgage company own’s it, so they should pay it. —

    • E

      Yeah, just bend over and take it like all the anti-union people do. Don’t stand up for yourself. Just take the loss, piss and moan about it, and point out others that you feel should be losing too. That’ll fix everything.

      • E

        @E Stop using my ID. As for your pro-union, pro-teacher comment I’m guessing you have a teacher somewhere in your family tree lol. Also let me make you aware that 60% of ALL strikes in the United States occurs in the state of Pennsylvania and 75% of the strikes in Pennsylvania occurs in Northeastern Pa. That’s right, you pathetic people strike more than any other community in the US lol. It’s not opinion it is an undebatable, statistical fact that you people are nothing but crybabies. Ha ha ha ha!

  • Think Positive

    This is pathetic. I feel bad for the students, who are getting the worst of this. They’re learning a lesson about the price tag of caring.

    • Sick of stupid people

      Why should they be on Unemployment??… Because they want a raise? Your the kind of person that’s ruining the middle class. They take your kids and teach them the things you can’t or remember can’t remember. They have at least 4 years of college to re pay…And frankly if those kids are anything like I was in school the teachers disserve more than they are probably asking for…for putting up with some of the monsters you call children…so next time you want to open your mouth with a stupid comment they should be on Unemployment think about what’s coming out of your mouth because when your on strike you don’t get any pay or any Unemployment…..and thank a union member next time your stuffing your face on labor day next year or enjoying a weekend

      • les

        You’re wrong there champ. A public education degree in a 4 year college is a joke. Try learning something difficult like advanced math, engineering, nursing or physics. None of you would pass the test. You’re all glorified baby sitters.

      • Stop Glorifying Killers

        Wrong moron. Teachers unions have an emergency fund and they use it for pay while on strike. Guess you’re one of the stupid people you hate.

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