Negotiations between Teachers Union and D211 may lead to first ever D211 strike

Jason Jung, Staff Writer

Graphic Courtesy of Suzie Sun

The D211 teachers of the Northwest Suburban Local 1211 Union could go on a strike as early as Dec. 18. The Union is striving to negotiate a contract with the district that better compensates the teachers for their work and the cost of living.

From a student’s perspective, teachers striking could affect the scheduling of the school calendar. The Board of Education would be forced to cancel all school activities including class, clubs, sports and possibly reschedule finals in the case of strike.

Junior Sydney Kruto expresses her view on the possible implications of teachers striking,

“I think there’s nothing wrong if the teachers decide to picket a strike since they’re protesting for their cause,” Kruto said. “However, there needs to be an immediate solution, especially since we’re in finals season and it’s a stressful time for all students.”

When asked about the current negotiations and the possible effects on the student body, superintendent Dan Cates shared the following message.

“The Board recognizes that students, parents and staff members might experience feelings of stress and uncertainty surrounding a possible strike,” Cates said. “The Board and our administration are doing all we can to resolve the impasse and keep our schools open.”

According to the district’s website, D211 has offered its employees a two percent increase on their base salaries for the first year and a raise based off seventy-five percent of the Urban Consumer Price Index (CPI-U), a measurement for the cost of living, for the remaining three years. The Union has rejected this offer and requested a two percent base salary raise and a raise based off of one-hundred percent of the CPI-U for the remaining years of the contract.

Union president John Braglia commented on the negotiations occurring between the Union and Board.

“The district is allowed to levy, under state law, up to the CPI,” Braglia said. “We’re asking for a sub-CPI raises because it is respectful to the community and it allows the district to generate a surplus.”

Junior Aditya Prathap provides his insight on the union-district contract.

“I hope the contract includes adjustments for cost of living. The CPI changes frequently and it’s important for the teachers to be well-compensated since we live in an area with high property taxes,” Prathap said. “People don’t necessarily go to Fremd for its basketball courts or soccer fields, but rather for its teachers. At the same time it’s necessary for the school to maintain its facilities. There should be good balance on where the money goes because they both have an effect on the student.”

Teachers have been working without a contract and have been negotiating since July 1. After 16 meetings with the Board of Education and the Union, there has yet to be an agreement between both sides.

When asked about the possibility of a strike occurring, Braglia shared the following information.

“The labor board has authorized the union to strike on Dec. 18,” Braglia said. “The union is having a meeting Dec. 13 to present a vote of no-confidence in the Board of Education. If nothing can be resolved, the union has a tentative strike date on Dec. 18.”