ADDISON – The Addison Teachers’ Association (ATA) filed its intent to strike notice with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB). The notice allows ATA to legally declare a strike as early as Thurs., Oct. 24.
“Our hands are tied. We don’t want to strike, but the board continues to refuse to come to the table and negotiate with us. They are leaving us no choice. We won’t stop fighting for our students, even if it means we have to go on strike to get them what they need,” ATA co-President Allison Andrikokus said. “Seventy-six percent of our student population is minority, 66 percent of which is Hispanic, and our per pupil instructional spending is below average. We’re behind most districts in the county. This is completely unacceptable. Our students deserve the same education afforded to the students in our neighboring districts. The board needs to start putting them first.”
ATA’s members are currently working without a contract. The ATA has been negotiating with the Addison School District 4 Board of Education (BOE) since February. In late September, the BOE abruptly declared they’d submitted their last offer to the ATA. On Oct. 7, the BOE and ATA met to negotiate again. ATA submitted an offer that was rejected without bargaining. Since then, the BOE has refused to bargain. District 4 serves 4,059 students. ATA has 327 members who are teachers, speech pathologists, media specialists, social workers and psychologists.
“This is a women’s rights issue. Ninety percent of our membership is women. Teaching is no longer a job a woman takes just to help supplement her husband’s income. In many cases, we are the breadwinners. We need competitive wages,” Andrikokus said. “It’s no wonder, we are hemorrhaging teachers. We’re losing good, quality teachers that our students deserve. For the last five years, we’ve lost nearly two dozen teachers a year. Those teachers are being forced to look for work outside of District 4 because they need a wage that will allow them to provide for their families. We are just asking for average, and we know the district has more than enough money to give it us without raising taxes.”
There are no negotiation sessions scheduled. ATA remains ready, willing and able to bargain at any time.
ATA members and District 4 community members plan to wear #redfored and rally on Tues., Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. in the parking lot of Venutis Italian Restaurant and Banquet Hall (2251 W. Lake St., Addison).
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.