Detroit teachers agree to end 2-week walkout, classes for 130,000 kids to start Thursday

Wednesday, September 13th 2006, 10:19 am
By: News On 6

DETROIT (AP) _ Teachers voted Wednesday to end their more than two-week strike, paving the way for Detroit's 130,000 students to return to their classrooms.

The union's executive board approved a tentative three-year contract Tuesday, and teachers gathered Wednesday to vote on whether to return to work while the ratification vote is taking place by mail.

``We stayed united. We made great sacrifices, because we were fighting for what is right,'' Detroit Federation of Teachers President Janna Garrison told the teachers gathered at Cobo Arena.

The ``yes'' vote returns teachers to their schools for preparation later Wednesday, with classes starting Thursday.

The walkout began Aug. 28 after teachers rejected a two-year contract proposal.

The district initially sought a 5.5 percent pay cut over two years to help balance the district's $1.36 billion budget. The union sought a raise after years without one.

They eventually agreed on a one-year pay freeze, followed by increases of 1 percent the second year and 2.5 percent the third.

Veteran teachers also will start paying 10 percent of their health insurance costs, something that only those hired since 1992 have been doing.