(CNN)– 94 out of 97 Detroit public schools are closed Monday because teachers called in sick, school district spokeswoman Michelle A. Zdrodowski said.
Over the weekend, teachers learned they would not get salaries for work performed in May and June, according to Ivy Bailey, the interim president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers.
“There’s a basic agreement in America: When you put in a day’s work, you’ll receive a day’s pay. DPS (Detroit Public Schools) is breaking that deal,” Bailey said. “Teachers want to be in the classroom giving children a chance to learn and reach their potential. Unfortunately, by refusing to guarantee that we will be paid for our work, DPS is effectively locking our members out of the classrooms.”
The so-called sickouts aren’t necessary, said district official Steven Rhodes.
“It is unfortunate that the (teachers union) has chosen to make a statement in this way. I am on record as saying that I cannot in good conscience ask anyone to work without pay,” he said in a statement.
“Wages that are owed to teachers should be paid,” Rhodes said. “I understand the frustration and anger that our teachers feel. I am, however, confident that the Legislature will support the request that will guarantee that teachers will receive the pay that is owed to them. The (union’s) choice for a drastic call to action was not necessary.”
CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report.