News Local/State

Unit 4 & Teachers Union To Hold Bargaining Session Wednesday


Negotiators for the Champaign school district and its teachers’ union return to the bargaining table Wednesday afternoon, to continue efforts to reach a new contract agreement for some 800 teachers.

At the last session two weeks ago, the Champaign Federation of teachers reached a tentative agreement with Unit Four on family health insurance.

CFT President Jennifer White said it was crucial to reach agreement on that issue before the open enrollment period for teachers insurance began July 1st. But she says there’s still a lot for negotiators to talk about --- including teachers’ salaries.

“Both sides, you know we still have a list of issues, items that we want to improve or change in the contract that we think will just improve our schools and our working conditions here in Unit Four,” said White.  “And so we’re hopeful that we’ll make progress on those.”

When the last bargaining session was held two weeks ago, state public school funding for the new fiscal year was uncertain.  But two days later, lawmakers and the governor agreed on a stopgap spending bill that includes a full year of state funding for schools.

“I would say it makes us a little more comfortable, a little less afraid of the unknown,” said White of the state funding agreement. “And it’s always better to know all of the facts and how things are going to be, least for the year, when moving forward.”

The old Unit Four Teachers contract officially expired June 30th. Once a new agreement is reached, it’s expected to be retroactive to July 1st.

White says if needed, another bargaining session is scheduled for next month, shortly before the school year begins. Meanwhile, contract talks for Unit Four support staff are also under way.