Wildcat Chronicle

Teachers’ Association declares intent to strike

By Mayeli Vivaldo, Editor in chief

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After their authorization vote to strike, the West Chicago Teachers’ Association officially filed their intent to strike on Feb. 2.

Members of the Association voted to authorize a strike on Jan. 26.

“The vote was a difficult decision. The fact that the Association has been at the table for two years and only now took that action is an indication of our desire to work things out at the table, but that hasn’t happened,” president of the Association Brad Larson said. “At some point, the bargaining process has to be resolved and we have to have a new contract.”

The vote was held due to near two-year long ongoing negotiations between the Association and the Board of Education over teacher contracts. Negotiations began in April 2016. Teachers have been working without a contract since Aug. 13 after an extension agreed to by the Association expired.  

“Following the vote, in order to actually strike, the Association has to file paperwork with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, the Regional Office of Education, and the school district,” Larson explained. “We have to send notice to them of intent to strike.”

The Association must wait 10 days after they have filed their intent to strike in order to go on strike. After Feb. 12, the Association can legally go on strike.

“That’s the soonest that the Association can go on strike,” Larson said. “We have not set a strike date, but there is a possibility that one will be set within the next week or so.”

Although an intent to strike has been filed, the Association hopes to not have to go on strike.
“We hope that we will be able to settle and have a new contract. Nobody wants to take that (strike) step,” Larson said. “Everybody would prefer to keep doing our jobs and keep working with students and to have an acceptable contract settled.”

Regardless, the Association feels like they are approaching a very critical point where a strike might be needed.

“We’re at a place where the board has not made the movement that would be necessary for the Association to approve a new contract,” Larson said. “The board has not been forthcoming and as a result, things over the next week or so have the potential to be quite unusual.”

Students and parents received an email on Feb. 2 from Superintendent Doug Domeracki announcing the intent to strike of the Association.

“This is a very difficult time for lots of people and everyone involved hoped that we would not be in this situation. We hope that there is not a disruption to students’ education,” Larson said in response to the email. “Whatever rumors might be out there, they (students)  just need to pay attention to what they hear through the announcements and what the superintendent sends out.”

The Association continues to be determined on settling a fair contract.
“We have repeatedly said that our goal is a contract that will allow the district to hire and retain high-quality teachers,” Larson said. “The board’s proposals as they stand now, do not approach that standard.”

As part of their efforts to have a contract settled, on Wednesday and Friday, the Association will require teachers to “work to terms.”

“All the teachers will be leaving the building by 3:10 p.m and we won’t come into the building until 7:30 in the morning,” Larson said. “(We’re doing this) as a step to indicate to the board the resolution and determination of the Teachers’ Association.”

The Association has more “work to terms” events planned for next week if necessary.

The Association will also picket on Wednesday at the district office in West Chicago while a bargaining meeting takes place.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Teachers’ Association declares intent to strike”

  1. Carolyn Hansen on February 8th, 2018 7:25 pm

    Our town, and our students deserve high quality teachers…we have been blessed for a long time with great teachers. Don’t get cheap now, our students have had amazing success in the world, don’t deny future students that same success. Someone should make a list of the very successful WeGo grads!!

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Teachers’ Association declares intent to strike