Champaign support staff union, school district reach tentative contract

Champaign support staff union, school district reach tentative contract

CHAMPAIGN — The union that represents support staff members and the Champaign school district have reached a tentative agreement, said Champaign Educational Support Professionals Union President Steve Pease on Wednesday afternoon.

Both sides agreed last week to request the help of a federal mediator, but still met Wednesday without one because they had previously scheduled the bargaining session.

Pease said the two sides met for about 45 minutes Wednesday. 

“I think we came together tonight with the intent of getting this behind us, and it was a lot of good work by everybody,” he said, adding that he’s especially grateful to his membership for being patient and to the negotiating teams involved. 

“We came together with the thought that it was time to move forward, and that was the feeling at the table tonight,” he said.

The school district sent out a statement on behalf of its board, saying that it's "pleased with the progress" of Wednesday's bargaining session.

"At this time, the board understands that (the union) will be taking information from tonight’s meeting to its membership for ratification," the school district's statement said. "The parties came to a tentative agreement this evening without the assistance of a federal mediator. The board commends the (union's) leadership team for their commitment to the process and to reaching a fair agreement that honors the work of our support professionals."

School Board Vice President Jamar Brown said he's happy the two sides reached a tentative contract.

"I'm glad we have another successful (contract) negotiation done without using a mediator," he said.

The union represents about 540 Champaign school district employees in 14 kinds of jobs, including cooks, mechanics, teaching assistants, secretaries and custodians.

The union's contract expired July 1, and the two sides have been negotiating a new contract since June.

More information will be added as it becomes available.

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