Wildcat Chronicle

Authorization of strike disappoints Board of Education

President+of+Board+of+Education+Gary+Saake+expressed+disappointment+at+the+many+events+held+by+the+West+Chicago+Teachers%27+Association+like+informational+picketing.++
President of Board of Education Gary Saake expressed disappointment at the many events held by the West Chicago Teachers' Association like informational picketing.

President of Board of Education Gary Saake expressed disappointment at the many events held by the West Chicago Teachers' Association like informational picketing.

Photo by D94 Teachers

Photo by D94 Teachers

President of Board of Education Gary Saake expressed disappointment at the many events held by the West Chicago Teachers' Association like informational picketing.

By Mayeli Vivaldo, Editor in chief

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Board of Education president Gary Saake expressed great disappointment in response to the West Chicago Teachers’ Association’s decision to authorize a strike.

During a meeting on Jan. 26, the Association members voted to authorize a strike, meaning, if deemed necessary, teachers are willing to go on strike.

“We’re disappointed that they’ve taken that action. It’s not going to be helpful to getting to a resolution,” Saake said.

Although the board and the Association have been negotiating teacher contracts officially since April 2016, the Board of Education claims the near two years of negotiations have not been used fully and correctly.

“The question out there is that we’ve been negotiating for two years, well, not exactly. We truthfully began what we call formal negotiations in April 2017, ” Saake expressed. “We presented our first offer to them on April 11, 2017. They took over two months to respond to that first offer we made which is very unusual. We only met like four times before the contract expired. I would say our real negotiations of this contract has really only been since April 2017. That’s still very long time, way too long.”

With the concern of a potential strike, the board is worried about the effects a strike could have on the school.

“It’s very hurtful. It will disrupt the lives of students and their families. Strikes have long-lasting implications to school districts. A thought out there is that a strike will affect a school for at least a decade, ” Saake said. “There are a lot of people involved in these types of things that all have relationships that are harmed by a strike. The students are our number one concern.”

Although the Teachers’ Association said a strike would be their last resort, the board believes a strike is not necessary or helpful at all.

“I don’t believe a strike changes anything in terms of negotiations,” Saake said. “Strikes are made for putting public pressure on the negotiations. They are not made for getting to a resolution.”

The Association has argued that the offers made by the board would be harmful to teachers, the quality of the school, and would reduce the amount of high-quality teachers.

“(It is not true) whatsoever. We’ve compared our current salaries to those of surrounding districts and took the rates of pay and came out very favorably in those. From that perspective, our current pay rates are very competitive with many districts,” Saake said. “We’re very proud of our faculty, we have a great faculty, no question about it, so I think that speaks for itself about what we’ve been able to attract with our current compensation. We also do exit interviews for employees that leave and only 17 percent of the faculty that has left have identified compensation as a factor in their leaving.”

From informational picketings to grade-ins, the Teachers’ Association has held many events as a way to inform the public and bring attention to current ongoing negotiations.

“They have every right to do that, but it’s not necessarily helpful to get us to a resolution. The only way to get to an agreement is people talking across the table,” Saake said. “It’s not necessary, it does not move where we’re at or change the amount of money that we have available.”

The board recently published information regarding contract negotiations and the proposals made on the school website. The Teachers’ Association claimed that the information was very limited.

“What we have out there is fact-based,” Saake said in response to the claims. “We haven’t received any comments from them that they disagree with anything that is posted.”

The board will continue to try to get to a consensus and agreement with the Teachers’ Association.

“The board is committed to an agreement that is fair to all stakeholders and is in the best interests of students, that’s where we want to be,” Saake said.

The next bargaining meeting between the Board of Education and Teachers’ Association is on Feb. 7.

A special board meeting will also be held on Thursday in commons at 7 p.m.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Authorization of strike disappoints Board of Education”

  1. Anthonee Brown on February 1st, 2018 4:26 pm

    One of the things you learn at the Harvard School of Business is the employee turnover is good. A young work force is much less expensive than a older mature one.

    It could be interpreted, on the extreme end, that a smart business should encourage turnover. This would keep them infused with young lower cost labor. While that really depends on the makeup of the work force, and the type of business they are in, I still disagree with that interpretation. In fact, in my opinion (what ever that is worth), it is morally corrupt.

    Yet, in these days of insane property taxes, increasing medical costs, and constrained budgets, the practice of encouraging turnover has to be very tempting.

    It is speculated that one school district somewhere in northwestern Illinois actually practices this. They fire as many new teachers just before they reach tenure as they can. There can actually be two reasons for this practice. First, a methodical practice of insuring only the best teachers reach tenure. I sympathize with this, but it’s fundamentally flawed for other reasons that I won’t list here. The second, and more likely, reason is to keep labor costs down.

    The latest proposal from the Community High School District 94 web site states the new and current teachers will get salary increased based on 90% of the Consumer Price Index. I admit I’m not an expert on salary structure and collective bargaining agreements. It certainly SEEMS like every year for the 4 year duration of the agreement, the teachers salaries, compared to the cost of living (e.g. the CPI) goes down every year (by 10%), instead of up as it should.




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Authorization of strike disappoints Board of Education