Unit Four and Champaign Teachers Union Hold Contract Talks
By Jim Meadows
Contract negotiators for the Champaign School District and its teachers union were scheduled to meet Monday afternoon. The meeting is expected to be a relatively brief one, due to the Unit Four school board meeting scheduled for Monday evening. Another bargaining session is set for October 24th, if needed.
School Board President Sue Grey says she’s optimistic about reaching an agreement. “I do think that we’re all good people sitting at this table”, said Grey prior to the Monday bargaining session. “And we want whatever’s in the best interests of teachers, our students and our community. And that we have to iron some differences out and I think then we’ll be ready to move forward.”
Champaign Federation of Teachers President Cathy Mannen says she hoped the Monday meeting would be more productive than a previous one held September 26th. After that meeting, CFT members approved a strike authorization motion. Champaign teachers have been working under an expired contract this fall. Mannen says salaries is the one main area yet to be resolved.
To promote their side of the negotiations, the Champaign Federation of Teachers scheduled a "Work-In" Monday evening, in conjunction with the Graduate Employees Organization at the University of Illinois Urbana campus. Both unions planned to meet at the Panera's sandwich shop at Kirby and Mattis. There, union members planned to grade papers, work on lesson plans, and do other work to demonstrate that the job of teaching doesn't end when students go home.