Contagion: Strike fever spreads across Illinois

Paul Kersey

Labor law expert, occasional smart-aleck, defender of the free society.

Paul Kersey
/ Labor
February 4, 2013

Contagion: Strike fever spreads across Illinois

  [updated Feb. 4, 2013] With the Chicago Teachers Union having waged a largely successful strike against the Chicago Public Schools, we can expect to see other public school unions, and maybe other government employee unions, following their example. Strikes allow unions to preserve costly wages and benefits, or block needed reforms, by shutting down...

 

[updated Feb. 4, 2013]

With the Chicago Teachers Union having waged a largely successful strike against the Chicago Public Schools, we can expect to see other public school unions, and maybe other government employee unions, following their example. Strikes allow unions to preserve costly wages and benefits, or block needed reforms, by shutting down government services. Illinois may be in the early stages of an outbreak of labor unrest across the state.

BARRINGTON
Teachers in Barrington District 220 have voted to authorize a strike.  Support for the resolution allowing the union to call a walkout was described as “overwhelming” although the Barrington Education Association did not release vote totals.  Negotiations have been contentious, but the parties have not yet called for a mediator or declared an impasse.

UPDATE: The Barrington District 220 School Board and Barrington Education Association submitted final offers Thursday afternoon.  Disagreements remain on working conditions and compensation.  “Final offers” does not mean that negotiating will stop: meetings are scheduled for today, February 1, and Tuesday February 5.  The BEA has yet to file a strike notice.  February 21 is the earliest strike date possible.

CARPENTERSVILLE
Contract negotiations have stalled in Carpentersville (District 300) and a federal mediator has been brought in to guide future talks.  The President of the local teachers union is openly considering a strikeagainst the district.

UPDATE: Teachers in Carpentersville authorized a strike by Local Education Association of District 300.  No strike date has been set.

UPDATE: Carpentersville area teachers in District 300 will begin their strike Tuesday after failing to come to an agreement with the board of education during contract negotiations.

UPDATE: Carpentersville teacher strike ends, tentative 3-year-contract reached. Teachers in Community Unit District 300 reached a deal with the school board late Tuesday to end a one-day walkout in the large, far northwest suburban school district.

CHAMPAIGN
In Champaign (Unit 4 Schools) teachers have authorized a strike.  No strike date has been set however.  Negotiations will resume October 15.

CRAB ORCHARD District 3
The Illinois Education Association filed a notice of intent to strike on December 18.  A strike could be called as soon as school resumes in January.

DIXON
The Dixon School Board has declared an impasse in negotiations.  The Dixon Education Association has already filed a notice of intent to strike, The next step is for both sides to submit final offers to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.  A strike could occur as early as Mid February.  The teachers have been working without a contract since August, with contract talks taking place since April.

EVERGREEN PARK
Teachers in the Evergreen Park school district (#124) are on strike at the time this post was being written.  According to the district, the union and administration are in disagreement over a wide range of issues, including compensation, health insurance, early retirement, allowances for pension spiking and merit bonuses.

UPDATE: I attended a public forum in Evergreen Park hosted by the teachers union. Find out what I learned.

UPDATE: Teachers in Evergreen Park should return to the classrooms early next week, as a tentative agreement has been reached between District 124 and the Evergreen Park Federation of Teachers.  Terms of the agreement are still unknown but officially pensions were a major bone of contention.  A second subject of disagreement was a staff-wide bonus based on district-wide performance on the MAP test.  The union and its supporters had become aggressive in putting pressure on the school board before the settlement was announced.

EWING NORTHERN District 115
The Ewing Northern Federation of Teachers filed notice of intent to strike on November 30.  A strike could begin as early as January 9.

GENEVA
Teachers in Geneva vote to authorize a strike.

UPDATE: The Geneva school teachers union has given the Geneva school district notice of its intent to strike in as few as 10 days. While the notice is the 10-day intent-to-strike notice required by state law, setting a possible strike date of Nov. 5, a news release issued by the Geneva school district suggests no strike can begin before Nov. 9, which is 14 days after final offers have been posted on the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board website, per state law. The school board released its “final offer” for a new teacher contract Friday morning. Read more…

UPDATE: With negotiations at an impasse, school teachers in Geneva plan to walk off the job on Nov. 12.

GRAYSLAKE
Negotiations between the Grayslake District 46 Board of Education and teachers union have reached an impasse and the school district has presented its last, best offer.  The teachers union responded by scheduling a closed meeting Monday, at which they are expected to hold a strike vote.

UPDATE: Teachers in Grayslake District 46 have voted to authorize a strike. Out of 327 teachers eligible to vote, 317 were in favor of the proposal to allow the union to call for a walkout. A strike date has not been set.

UPDATE: Teachers in Grayslake District 46 went on strike.  Salary and retirement provisions appear to be the main sticking point, with the district calling for a hard salary freeze (meaning no changes to teacher pay for the duration of the contract) and reduced pension “spiking”.  The Lake County Federation of Teachers is demanding that teachers receive regular “step” increases as teachers gain seniority, and while the union will accept a contract in which no changes to the pay schedule during the first year, it is calling for an across-the-board pay increase (on top of steps) of 4.68 percent in the second year.  Grayslake district is considering the hiring of temporary replacement teachers, which would allow the district to reopen schools while negotiations continue.

UPDATE: School and union officials announced Monday that a tentative agreement has been reached, ending a three-day strike that began on January 16.  Schools reopened on January 22.  The two-year contract is expected to be ratified by the board and the union, but as is too often the case details of the settlement will not be made public until after ratification

HIGHLAND PARK
Negotiations in Highland Park (North Shore District 112) have become contentious.  A bargaining session is scheduled for Thursday, but the North Shore Education Association has given notice that it is prepared to strike if there is no progress.  A work stoppage could begin as early as Oct. 12.

UPDATE: Negotiations in Highland Park (North Shore District 112) continue to be contentious.  Another bargaining session is set for the 10th, but the North Shore Education Association has set Oct. 16 as a strike date.

UPDATE: Teachers in North Shore School District 112 are on strike after failing to reach a deal, canceling classes in elementary and middle schools in Highland Park and Highwood.

UPDATE: Classes resume after strike ends in North Shore School District 112.

HUNTLEY
Teachers at the Huntley District 158 schools have authorized a strike. Negotiations are ongoing and a strike date has not been set.

LAKE FOREST
Teachers at the Lake Forest High School District (#115) waged a seven-day strike that ended Sept. 19.  As was the case in Chicago, teacher evaluations were a controversial topic.  A tentative contract is awaiting final approval by the school board and by teachers.

LITCHFIELD Community Unit #12
Teachers in the Litchfield public schools have authorized a strike, and the Litchfield Education Association has announced that it may opt to strike on or after January 7.

PRAIRIE GROVE
The Prairie Grove Consolidated School District (#46) is also at risk of a work stoppage.  Although a date for a walkout has not been set, teachers have taken a vote on a possible strike.  Negotiations are set to resume on October 11.

UPDATE: Unionized teachers began a strike against the Prairie Grove School District 46 Friday morning after the school board and the Lake County Federation of Teachers were unable to agree to terms late Thursday.  Contract negotiations are scheduled to resume Friday morning, and in a break with typical bargaining procedures, the public is allowed to observe.

UPDATE: Prairie Grove School District 46 Board of Education and the Prairie Grove Teacher’s Association reached an agreement after over seven hours of talks on Oct. 12.

WEST CHICAGO

Teachers in West Chicago District 33 are likely to go on strike within the next few days. The Elementary Teachers Association of West Chicago (an NEA affiliate) filed a notice of intent to strike notice in December. The union has pledged to give an additional 24 hours notice before striking, but teachers are expected to meet tonight and may opt to set a strike date. Wages and health care appear to b the main areas of contention, with the district announcing that it will implement it’s final offer if a contract is not agreed to by February 21.

UPDATE: The Elementary Teachers Association of West Chicago has filed a notice of intent to strike.  A walkout could begin as early as January 7, when school is scheduled to resume after winter break.

UPDATE: The union sent a settlement offer to the school board late Thursday. The board is reviewing the offer and should respond to the union by end of school day today.  The sides could return to the bargaining table by 1 p.m. Sunday.  Without an agreement, the teachers are set to walk off the job on Monday.

UPDATE: Teachers of West Chicago District 33 are now on strike after the Elementary Teachers Association of West Chicago rejected the latest offer from the school board late Sunday. No new talks are scheduled. The sides have been unable to resolve numerous issues, such as health insurance, retirement benefits, class sizes, and procedures for teacher appraisals.



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