‘Overwhelming Majority’ of Champaign Teachers Approve Strike Authorization Vote

September 07, 2016
 
Champaign Centennial High School, where the District's teachers union approved a strike authorization vote Wednesday.

Champaign Centennial High School, where the District's teachers union approved a strike authorization vote Wednesday.

Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media

The President of the Champaign Federation of Teachers says an overwhelming majority has authorized a strike by its members. But Jennifer White says the earliest a strike could take place at Unit 4 schools is mid-to-late October. That’s if the union and Unit 4 administrators can’t come to an agreement in their ninth bargaining session, scheduled for September 20.

White says it comes down being treated as professionals.

“The language items that we’re proposing are all really important to our teachers – they matter," she said. "They make a difference in our daily work. And so those are very important to our members, and at the same time, the district proposals – we don’t they show that respect of our profession, or the work that we are currently doing.”

White says if the two sides can’t agree, both the district and union would have to publicly post their proposals by September 27th, and have them on display for seven days before a strike can occur.

But she says the union's 800 members remain optimistic heading into bargaining.

“We’ll certainly go in there with intentions of talking about these issues, and why they’re still important for teachers, and why we think they’re necessary for our contract," White said. "Now we have the affirmation from our members that we’re on the right track, that we’re standing up for the things that matter to them.”

The school district and union of more than 800 members are still talking on items like length of the school day.  They’ve come to agreement on areas like health insurance, and compensation for club sponsors.  The previous contract expired June 30.

While the teacher’s union continues talks with Unit 4 administrators, Champaign support staff appear to have settled negotiations. 

The district issued a press release Wednesday, saying the two sides came to a tentative agreement that 'honors the work of our support professionals.' 

The Champaign Educational Support Professionals union still has to ratify the plan.

Story source: WILL