District 158 Teachers Reject Latest Contract Offer, Take Vote to Strike
Board of Education questions effectiveness of Huntley Education Association’s negotiating team as union disputes the board's take on negotiations. No word on when or if strike will occur.
Updated Oct. 21, 2012:
The Huntley Education Association officials are calling the District 158's Board of Education statement that a “second tentative agreement was reached at the negotiations table is patently false and can only be construed as an intentional misstatement by the BOE,” according to a release issued by Julie McLaughlin, president of HEA.
“Realizing that the repeated failure of the BOE to address the concerns of educators was leading nowhere, the bargaining team took the BOE's most recent offer (not agreed to in any way) to the membership prior to requesting a strike authorization vote,” the release stated. “Our goal was to ensure that all members had the opportunity to express themselves through a democratic secret ballot vote, even though no tentative agreement had been reached.”
"With nearly twice as many members voting, the result was substantially the same as the first," the release stated. "A supermajority of members recognized the inherent unfairness and inadequacies of the offer, and that it failed to meet their needs."
"Our hope is that the BOE comes to the realization that building a quality school district is in everyone’s interest," the release stated. "Fairness to current professionals is a means of building to the future. It is the best pathway toward attracting and retaining the high quality professionals our students and community deserve,” the release stated.
Huntley Education Association members rejected a second tentative contract agreement this week and took a vote authorizing a strike, officials said.
The District 158 Board of Education released a statement late Thursday expressing disappointment and questioning whether the Huntley Education Association’s (HEA) negotiating team’s authority.
HEA and District 158 have been negotiating a contract for 21 weeks and reached a three year contract agreement in September but the union’s membership rejected it. According to the district, only 1/3 of the membership was present to vote.
Both sides agreed to mediation in late September then met again last week with a federal mediator, according to the release.
“The HEA negotiation team presented terms they felt were required by their membership. As a result, the HEA team and Board reached an oral agreement for a one-year contract. The mediator conveyed that the HEA team would recommend their membership ratify the oral agreement,” the release stated
Wednesday, the school board learned the HEA membership rejected the latest agreement. The board learned Thursday that the HEA took a strike authorization vote.
“The entire Board is disappointed the HEA negotiating team has twice failed to secure ratification of the agreements reached at the table,” the release stated.
The school district and HEA had released statements together about the negotiations. Last month, Julie McLaughlin, president of HEA, stated the negations were cordial and the two sides hope to have it resolved soon. She did not anticipate a strike at that time.
Friday, the HEA issued a release stating the union hoped to negotiate with the district in good faith. Neither the district nor the union indicated when or if a strike would occur.