HIGHLAND PARK – Today, the North Shore Education Association (NSEA) voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. The NSEA held a district wide vote and tallied the count this evening. The vote gives the NSEA bargaining team the authority to call a strike.
“This vote protects our right to use our collective voice to advocate for our students and our members,” NSEA President Sheri Henkel said. “The board wants to control how teachers spend their plan time. That is unacceptable. Teachers are professional, most with advanced degrees. We are asking the board to treat us like the professionals we are. We cannot afford to lose more teachers to surrounding districts. Highland Park should be a destination district — not just for superintendents but also for teachers. That has not been the case in recent years.”
To legally go on strike NSEA would also need to give a 10-day intent to strike. At the time of this release, NSEA had not yet filed an intent to strike notice.
“We will continue to work with the board and come to an agreement that puts students first,” Henkel said. “We have stayed late on school nights trying to negotiate a fair contract. We are still far apart on certain issues. It doesn’t have to be bricks and mortar improvements OR competitive compensation for our teachers. The district can afford both. What we can’t afford is to lose more quality teachers to other districts. Our students deserve better.”
District 112 and NSEA disagree on several key issues including:
- Plan time – District 112 would like to take plan time from our educators and use it for whatever they deem necessary. Plan time is vital to our educators so they can continue to ensure our students receive a high-quality education. Our members are working through their plan time and doing additional unpaid work outside of school hours.
- Currently, we know:
- 99% of teachers do school work on nights and weekends.
- 99% of teachers come to work early or stay at work late.
- 97% of teachers work during their unpaid lunch.
- Currently, we know:
- Competitive wages – District 112 continues to insist on adjusting teacher wages for the consumer price index (CPI) only. This is not a salary increase. NSEA is asking for a real salary increase that will make teacher salaries competitive with neighboring districts, so that we can retain quality educators. In the last year alone, more than two dozen teachers have resigned.
- Continuing education – The board wants to limit the institutions we can go to for higher education. We need to continue to learn and not have limits put on our professional growth. NSEA strongly believes members who seek additional education should be able to choose where they go for schooling.
NSEA has 391 members who are teachers, special education teachers, counselors and social workers. The association requested to begin bargaining for a fair contract in March. NSEA’s contract expired on Aug. 14. District 112 serves 3,964 students. The next mediation date is Oct. 3.
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.