WEST CHICAGO – This morning the West Chicago High School Teachers’ Association (WCHSTA) filed paperwork to trigger the process that will require both WCHSTA and the District 94 Board of Education to publicly post their final bargaining proposals. The decision by WCHSTA comes after a lack of progress in a negotiation session with the board on Jan. 9, following four sessions with a federal mediator.
“We have now been negotiating with the board for nearly two years. Teachers have been working in good faith to try to reach a resolution, but the board of education is not hearing our voices,” WCHSTA President Brad Larson said. “We’ve done the math. We know the district has the money to meet our requests for a fair contract without raising taxes. We think it’s time the community has a chance to see the impact of the board’s proposals on D94 students.”
WCHSTA is a group of 141 teachers at Community High School in West Chicago and is responsible for the education of 2,082 students from West Chicago, Winfield and Carol Stream. They have been working without a contract since the beginning of the school year. Negotiations with the D94 Board started in April of 2016.
The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board will post both sets of proposals on its website in 14 days if no agreement is reached before that time. The public posting of bargaining proposals is required under the law as one of the steps the association must take before it can legally strike.
“A strike is the last thing teachers want, and we are continuing to do everything we can in order to avoid that possibility,” Larson said. “Our goal remains to reach a settlement that is going to be fair to the community, and also attracts and retains quality teachers who can continue to provide an excellent education for all D94 students. Teachers are not willing to settle for anything less.”
In December, WCHSTA unanimously voted “no confidence” in board President Gary Saake, and teachers also participated in an informational picket outside the district administration building during Tuesday night’s bargaining session. The next bargaining session is set for Jan. 16 at 4:30 p.m. at West Chicago High School (326 Joliet Street). WCHSTA will hold another informational picket at the same time and location.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.