Monday, December 17, 2018

Strikes settled quickly

Although final contract settlements have been reported recently in Chicago, Geneva, and Champaign, two teacher strikes were staged in the past three weeks as labor negotiations have continued elsewhere around the state. The most recent labor disputes included now-halted work stoppages in Geneva SD 304, and in Chicago’s Acero charter school network, Illinois’ first teacher strikes in more than a year.

Classes resumed December 10 in the Geneva district for nearly 6,000 students after a strike that began December 3 idled 458 teachers. While the strike continued through just one weekend, sports events and school activities were cancelled, and scheduled final exams were pushed back to January.

Likewise, the teacher work stoppage was short-lived at Chicago’s 15-school charter network called Acero, lasting just four days before teachers and administrators agreed to suspend it, and end the nation’s first-ever charter school strike. The strike involved nearly 500 teachers, and kept approximately 7,500 students out of the classroom for days.

Earlier the Champaign CUSD 4 Board of Education and the local teachers organization reached a tentative agreement November 20 on a new contract, avoiding a strike by nearly 200 teachers. Negotiators there worked out a three-year deal, since ratified.

In other labor developments, a contract dispute between the board of education for Township High School District 211 and the local teacher union stretched into December, leading to an intent-to-strike notice. But the two sides averted a strike, according to a December 17 news report by WGN television.

The earliest the teachers in the Palatine-Schaumburg area district could have had a strike would have been December 17, according to the school board's message to parents. The high school district serves about 11,750 students, making it one of the largest high school districts in the state.

More 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.