Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Labor issues heating up across the state

Although teacher strikes have been avoided, ongoing negotiations and short-lived work stoppages have been reported in several districts this school year, mainly among support staff and transportation workers. Here is a summary of the most recent labor issues across the state:

The Quincy Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Personnel rejected a contract offer from Quincy SD 172 on Oct. 18, and filed an intent to strike notice with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. The earliest possible strike date would be Nov. 17. A tentative agreement reached in July was later rejected by union membership, and the district went into mediation in August.

In Rockford, the teachers union and the Rockford SD 205 school board will take up negotiations again this month after a contract offer was rejected by Rockford Education Association members on Oct. 22.

Plainfield CCSD 202 and the Association of Plainfield Teachers reached a tentative agreement on Oct. 26. The Board of Education was expected to finalize and present details of the five-year agreement at its Nov. 6 meeting.

In Palatine CCSD 15, members of the Education Support Personnel Association union went on strike on Oct. 15. The association includes school nurses, special education classroom aides, and school secretaries. Schools remained open, and a federal judge ordered the employees considered “essential” – nurses and some aides – back to work on Oct. 18. The board presented an offer on Oct. 27 that was rejected; however, striking employees returned to work without an agreement on Oct. 30, and negotiations continue.

Negotiations between Ashland-based A-C Central CUSD 262 and its support staff have broken down after three months, according to a State Journal Register report on November 8. At issue are wages for transportation staff, cooks, classroom aides, secretaries, and custodians. Although no dates have been set, A-C Central Superintendent Tim Page says the district is willing to continue negotiations.

In another action pertaining to school district support staff, the board of education for Prairie Grove CSD 46 and Prairie Grove Education Support Personnel (PGESP) tentatively agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement on Nov. 2. The agreement covers 45 district support staff members, including bus drivers, secretaries, office assistants, para-professionals, and custodians. The board is expected to ratify the agreement at its Nov. 14 meeting.

Two other school districts were involved in negotiations with transportation providers that were recently settled. Skokie-based Alltown Bus Service, which contracts with Decatur SD 61, reached a tentative agreement with its bus drivers, attendants, and mechanics on Oct. 18. First Student Bus Company and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 26, also representing bus drivers, monitors, and mechanics, reached an agreement on Oct. 30 to continue service without interruption for students of Danville SD 118.

More current information is available from the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board (IELRB), which collects public postings for education-related final offers. Current IELRB postings can be accessed here.

This post was updated on November 8 with additional information.