Hannibal V Constantine (hannibalv) wrote,
Hannibal V Constantine

An FYI for graduates of Downers Grove North (and, I suppose, South) High School:

The teachers of the above-named schools teeter on the brink of strike. If you're so inclined, now might be a good time to proffer words of support. I have a couple of e-mail addresses if you need them.

(Unless you don't support them, of course, in which case I suppose you can proffer words of support to the Board of Education.)

From this morning's Chicago Tribune:

Downers schools to open but labor talks stalled
By Tracy Dell'Angela
Tribune staff reporter

September 12, 2002

Schools will open in Downers Grove High School District 99 Thursday, but a teachers strike appears imminent unless both sides agree to resume contract negotiations.

Contract talks broke off early Wednesday, with each side blaming the other for the impasse. District officials said the teachers walked out without responding to their latest offer for a four-year contract. Union officials said the district shut down the process after its negotiators told a federal mediator it couldn't exceed a "bottom line offer" without seeking permission from the school board.

As of late Wednesday, no negotiating sessions were scheduled. The union team met Wednesday night to discuss the timing of any strike, although teachers and administrators said they were not expecting any job action before the weekend.

Teachers voted Tuesday to authorize a strike that would have allowed them to walk out Thursday "at the earliest," but union officials opted to wait.

"Currently, there is nothing on the books, but I would hope the board would be a little more serious about getting this resolved," said Mike Tompkins, who issued a press release Wednesday saying the union was "stunned and appalled" by the "bizarre" action of the school board.

Board President Julia Kennedy Beckman said the board never stopped negotiating. The next move should come from the union, which needs to respond to the district's latest offer, she said. The board is expected to send letters to parents and staff at Downers Grove South and North High Schools by Friday, laying out their proposal.

"I expect we'll finish out the week. After that I can't predict what will happen," Supt. David Eblen said. "Perhaps the weekend will ease a little of the pressure."

After more than 10 months of talks, the sides remain about $4 million apart on health insurance, retirement benefits, stipends and salary increases. The district has about 375 teachers and 5,500 students in Downers Grove and parts of Woodridge, Bolingbrook, Darien, Oak Brook, Westmont and Lisle.

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