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Plainfield, Illinois Teachers Could Be On Strike As Early As Next Week.

Teachers never want to be put in a position where a strike is likely, but when negotiations hit a wall with school districts, strikes unfortunately happen. That seems to be an imminent likelihood for teachers of Illinois’  Plainfield School District 202, after a year of negotiations between the district and teachers’ union have yielded little progress.

Union leaders of the Association of Plainfield Teachers, which represents some 1,800 employees in the state’s fifth-largest school district have called for a strike that could happen any day now.

Last month, the teachers union rejected what District 202 board president Greg Nichols called an "almost 4 percent" raise for 80 percent of the union’s members. APT President Dawn Bullock said that the proposal equated to just a raise of 2.75 percent for the average teacher and a one-time monetary offer of $250 for part-time teachers or a $500 for full-time teachers. Bullock expressed dissatisfaction with the offer and  told Patch, that the signing bonus “does not compound nor does it equate to a 4% raise on our schedule."

The most recent proposal made just earlier this month included a five-year pact, incorporating an average salary increase of 5.2 percent in the first year, followed by 3.2 percent in year two and 2.7 percent in the third year. And while no agreement was reached at the time, Bullock admitted that year one of the deal was an improvement, before adding that work still needed to be done on the follow-up years. “We don’t expect to end up at the top of the list in pay, but we do expect to be treated fairly as career professionals,” she told the Chicago Tribune.

Hundreds turned out for the latest negotiation talks last week at Plainfield South High School with both sides working to find an agreement as soon as possible to avoid schools closing. Bullock expressed the union’s desire to prevent a strike from happening, writing in a statement that teachers “want to be in school for our students; not out on the picket line." Almost 28,000 students are enrolled in the district’s 30 schools.

Teachers with the Calaveras Unified School District in San Andreas, California, just recently ended a four-day strike after reaching a contract agreement that was 20 months in the making. Nine schools were closed because of the strike over issues ranging from pay to class size and school safety. President of the Calaveras Unified Educators Association, Lorraine Angel, said an agreement was reached with a vote of 118 to 4 for a new contract. Angel added "we have a bunch of really happy teachers because they get to go back into their classrooms.


Article by Joel Stice, Education World Contributor

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