MURPHYSBORO – The Murphysboro Education Association (MEA) today filed its intent to strike notice with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB). The notice allows MEA to legally strike in 10 calendar days. MEA members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. The earliest date educators could walk is Tues., Oct. 1
“A strike is MEA’s absolute last resort. We would much rather be with our students,” MEA lead negotiator Catlin Langellier said. “And we cannot continue to lose good, quality educators to neighboring districts. It’s unacceptable. We need to be competitive. Our students, our schools and our community are worth fighting for.”
MEA includes 152 teachers, counselors, nurses and social workers in District 186. The association requested to begin bargaining for a fair contract in March. MEA’s current contract expired on Aug. 12. District 186 serves 2,047 students. The next mediation session between MEA and the Board of Education is scheduled for Sept. 23.
“More than three quarters of our membership is spending upwards of $250 out of their own pockets on school supplies. The majority of our educators are doing school work on their own time,” Langellier said. “It’s no surprise we’re losing teachers. A dozen have left in the past two years alone. We are in the middle of a statewide teacher shortage. We need to start prioritizing attracting and retaining high-quality teachers so we can provide the best education possible to our students.”
MEA members and District 186 community members plan to attend the District 186 Board of Education meeting on Tues., Sept. 24 at 6:15 p.m. at the unit office (593 Ava Rd., Murphysboro) to show support for the negotiations team.
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.