Teachers in West Chicago Elementary School District #33 will strike on Monday, February 4, 2013 if they are unable to secure a new collective bargaining agreement with the school board, according to a news release issued today by the Elementary Teachers’ Association of West Chicago (ETAWC).
“We are disappointed and disheartened that our professional negotiations have come down to this,” said Mary Catherine Kosmach, chief negotiator for the association. “But for months we have had to deal with a school board that is intractable – one that refuses to compromise fairly and then threatens to impose its final offer on us. We are left with little choice.”
Kosmach said ETAWC officials set the strike date in response to the school board’s hard line in the last several negotiations sessions. In a vote on Jan. 16, ETAWC teachers authorized their association leaders to set a specific strike date if further compromise in the negotiations could not be achieved.
“We have offered significant concessions time after time on every one of the school board’s key issues, but they have said they will not budge,” Kosmach said. “Even when we offered to accept the diminished insurance package the administrators accepted, they said no. It truly is unfair and it forces the teachers to take a stand.”
Kosmach said the teachers’ offer in insurance alone would save the school district around $700,000 over two years, with additional savings in future years.
ETAWC and school board initiated negotiations over 16 months ago. Although some agreements have been reached, several issues remain unsettled, including class size protections, teacher appraisal, salary, health insurance, and retirement provisions for employees.
- Mary Catherine Kosmach
- ETAWC Chief Negotiator
- 630) 414-2005
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