ADDISON – The Addison Teachers’ Association (ATA) will be rallying with community members for a fair contract this evening. The rally comes two days before a possible strike. ATA filed its intent to strike notice with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) and could legally go on strike as early as Thurs., Oct. 24. There are currently no negotiations sessions set between ATA and the Addison School District 4 Board of Education (BOE).
“We want to send a very clear message to the board: We are ready, willing and able to negotiate. Come back to the table. Do what you were elected to do and put our students first,” ATA co-President Allison Andrikokus said. “We don’t want to go on strike. But it is impossible to reach a new contract if the board is unwilling to even meet with us. We are just asking for average for ourselves and for our students. We know the district can afford to make us equal.”
ATA’s members are currently working without a contract. The ATA has been negotiating with the BOE since February. The BOE has refused to bargain with ATA since Oct. 7.
“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,” Andrikokus said. “Our students deserve consistency. We need to be able to attract and also retain high-quality educators. We are in the middle of a teacher shortage, if Addison doesn’t step up and become competitive, we’ll only fall further behind.”
District 4 serves 4,059 students, 66 percent of which are Hispanic. ATA has 327 members who are teachers, speech pathologists, media specialists, social workers and psychologists.
“Our students deserve better. We’re below average, behind most districts in the county, when it comes to per student spending. Our students have a right to an equitable education. The district has a $47 million surplus. What are they waiting for?” Andrikokus said.
The rally is set for 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.