Wildcat Chronicle

Association protests as contract negotiations continue

Teachers+march+and+chant+outside+of+the+district+office+on+Tuesday+during+a+bargaining+session.
Teachers march and chant outside of the district office on Tuesday during a bargaining session.

Teachers march and chant outside of the district office on Tuesday during a bargaining session.

Photo by Amanda Slobodecki

Photo by Amanda Slobodecki

Teachers march and chant outside of the district office on Tuesday during a bargaining session.

By Mayeli Vivaldo, Editor in chief

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West Chicago Teachers’ Association members held signs and chanted outside of the district office on Tuesday as part of the Association’s informational picketing event.

Around 25 teachers participated in the picketing.

The informational picketing occurred between 4:30-6 p.m while a bargaining session between the Teachers’ Association bargaining team and the Board of Education bargaining team took place.

“The Association decided to do this to indicate the members’ support for the bargaining team as they continue to bargain with the Board of Education,” president of the Teachers’ Association Brad Larson said.

The Association began bargaining with the Board of Education in April 2016 and agreed to an extension that expired on Aug. 13, 2017. Teachers have been working without a contract since then.

The event was also created to express current bargaining status and progress to the community.

“We (wanted) to help the community be aware of the fact that bargaining is ongoing and we have not yet settled a contract and that the issue still needs to be resolved,” Larson said.

The signs and chants demanded a fair contract.

According to Larson, there was a lot of support from bystanders and community members.

“There were many people who honked their horns in support. A lot of people indicated their support for what we’re trying to achieve,” Larson said. “The members were very pleased by it and appreciate the support by the community. The members feel a greater sense of unity.”

The Association believes the picketing event was successful and plans to continue picketing at future events.

The next informational picketing will be at the board meeting Tuesday.

The Teachers’ Association has taken other steps, besides picketing, to move the negotiations to an end.

“On Wednesday, we notified the state that we have an impasse in bargaining. This is a legal step that triggers a number of different mechanisms,” Larson said. “Within two weeks, both sides’ proposals will be published on the state website. It’s one of the steps required before a union can go on strike.”

Although this step was taken, Larson said that “We want to avoid a strike if, at all possible, we’re working very hard to avoid a strike, but this process has to come to an end.”

The Teachers’ Association, according to Larson, will continue to inform the community through social media, or other forms, about contract negotiations.

Regarding the progress of the negotiations, Larson said, “There has been some movement on certain issues at the bargaining table, but we are not nearly as close to an acceptable agreement as we would like to be.”

The Association has not accepted the proposals made by the Board of Education because “we want to achieve a contract that will allow the district t0 hire and retain high-quality teachers both now and for the future. The proposals would make our district a less attractive place to work. It would negatively affect the quality of education the school can provide to students,” Larson said.

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Association protests as contract negotiations continue