NAPERVILLE – At the conclusion of online voting, the Naperville Unit Education Association (NUEA) membership voted overwhelmingly in support of an authorization to strike. The vote gives the NUEA bargaining team the authority to call a strike. The NUEA and the Naperville Community Unit School District 203 Board of Education next scheduled mediation session is Fri., Aug. 13 at 10:30 a.m. They will continue to negotiate with the hope that a settled agreement on a contract is reached.

The following statement can be attributed to Dan Iverson, president of the NUEA:

“To the students and families of District 203: I know these are stressful times and that some of you might be disappointed in this news. This vote does nothing to undermine our desire to be ready to meet and teach your students on the first day of school. You have shown us great support over the years, and you have put great trust in us to teach your children. We ask for your continued support and trust as we work toward a settled agreement with the district.

We have disagreed with the district on two central points: family and parental leave and an appropriate and affordable increase in compensation for the increase in professional responsibilities for teachers.

With respect to parental leave, the NUEA asks that their members be allowed to use their accumulated sick days for the full 12 weeks to which they are entitled under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Currently, members are only allowed to use their sick days for the first six weeks of FMLA, and they are not allowed to use their accumulated sick days to cover the remaining six weeks. This means that NUEA members who wish to be at home with their children for the duration of their federally provided leave must take up to six weeks of that leave completely unpaid. We are not asking the district for paid parental leave. The NUEA does not believe that members should have to choose between nurturing their families and paying their bills.

Also, the NUEA seeks an appropriate and affordable salary increase in response to the district’s continued implementation of a premium learning service. This service, MTSS, requires a tremendous amount of added responsibilities in all areas of teaching: supervising, planning, instructing and assessing, and the NUEA argues that we should be compensated for this premium service we will be increasingly asked to provide for all students.

We look forward to concluding these negotiations with a settled agreement on a contract so that we can turn our attention to preparing for the important work of educating our community’s students.”

The NUEA represents 1,500 teachers in District 203, which serves 16,500 students. The NUEA’s current contract ended on June 30. Negotiations began in January 2021.

On July 29, the NUEA submitted the required documents to the Illinois Education Labor Review Board (IELRB) for public posting. Earlier this week, the NUEA learned that the IELRB did not upload its contract for public posting due to a third-party error. Pursuant to the law, the contracts must be publicly available for 14 days until a legal strike day can be determined. While NUEA is disappointed in the delayed posting, the NUEA will respect and follow the law as it continues to pursue a settled agreement that invests in its students, honors its work, and supports district families.

The next mediation session with the District 203 BOE is Friday at 10:30 a.m. Another session is scheduled for Mon., Aug. 16.

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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.