Wildcat Chronicle

Association authorizes potential strike as contract negotiations continue

By Mayeli Vivaldo, Editor in chief

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The West Chicago Teachers’ Association voted to authorize a strike on Friday at a Teachers’ Association meeting.

“We hope we will not have to go on strike. We are going to continue to work with the Board (of Education),” president of the Teachers’ Association Brad Larson said. “At the same time, having taken a strike authorization vote, we are going to continue to prepare for a strike in hopes that we don’t have to go on strike.”

The authorization of a strike conveys that the Association is willing to go on strike if no agreement or consensus is made regarding ongoing teacher negotiations and if deemed necessary.

The Board of Education and the Teachers’ Association have been negotiating teacher contracts for nearly two years. Teachers have been working without a contract since the beginning of the school year.

Besides an agreement to a contract extension, which expired on Aug. 13, no proposals have been accepted on either side.

The next negotiation meeting is on Feb. 7.

Recently, the Board of Education has posted their proposals and information regarding negotiations on the school website.

Larson said that “What they are publishing is very limited in scope. It does not include information about how their offer would affect all teachers.”

According to Larson, the proposals made by the Board of Education would especially hurt newly hired teachers.

“Teachers would come and teach for two or four years, but then move on to another district that has higher pay and better benefits,” Larson said.

As a way to show their unity, Teachers’ Association members have been wearing shirts with supportive phrases like “WeGo’s Worth It.”

“It’s really important for everybody to understand that the members of the Teachers’ Association are very unified and committed to the goals that we have set out for achieving a new contract,” Larson said.

The Teachers’ Associations also held an event on Saturday where they distributed signs and posters to community members and supporters from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We know that there are a lot of members of the community who are similarly concerned with the school and its quality and I think it’s important that everyone else in the community is able to see that it’s not just the teachers who have these concerns,” Larson said about the event.  

The Association also plans on holding more informational picketings. No exact dates were given.

Although negotiations continue to go unresolved and a strike authorization has been confirmed, the Association’s focus is to come to a consensus as quickly as possible.

“We understand that this is a difficult process (for everyone). We would like nothing better than to settle a contract and have things settle down,” Larson said. “Every teacher here will tell you that what we want most is to continue working with our students uninterrupted.”

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Association authorizes potential strike as contract negotiations continue