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Pittsburgh Teacher's Union Makes 'Contingency Plans' For Strike

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Classes will resume Thursday at Greenfield Elementary School and continue at least through Friday, but, after that, there's no guarantees.

"I don't feel that they should go on strike, because these kids need to stay in school and get their education," said parent Jessica Hultz.

The union and Pittsburgh Public School District met for nine straight hours Tuesday without a resolution, and while no strike has been called, the union has directed its members to make contingencies, like selecting shifts for picketing.

"Parents and families in this district, they need to get a plan together for child care now," said James Fogarty, of A-Plus Schools.

The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers must give the district 48 hour notice before a strike, meaning the earliest they could suspend classes would be Monday. But a union spokesperson told KDKA's Andy Sheehan in a statement that its members will be ready for any eventuality:

"While we continue to negotiate in good faith, we have directed our members to make contingencies."

Both sides are under a gag order, but district Solicitor Ira Weiss took issue with the union making those contingency plans.

He said in a statement: "Should the union wish to tell its teachers to walk off of the job, I believe the public, once made aware of the issue that they are striking over, which isn't about teacher pay, benefits or performance, but the ability - as a district - to put students first, will not be on their side."

Sources say the sides are at a stalemate over the ability of principals to make teacher assignments within individual schools -- with neither side budging.

Meanwhile, down the street from Greenfield Elementary, at the Palisade Playhouse, they're already offering spots for a strike day camp in the event of a walkout.

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