Champaign teachers union sets strike-authorization vote

Champaign teachers union sets strike-authorization vote

CHAMPAIGN — If members of the Champaign Federation of Teachers vote in favor of a strike Wednesday, it won't mean Unit 4 students will be without teachers come Thursday morning.

The vote, scheduled in response to stalled negotiations with the school district, would only authorize the union to call a strike, the first step in a long process that doesn't always end with teachers walking out of the classroom, union President Jennifer White stressed Thursday.

"This is the next step in allowing our members to have their voices heard," White said. "A lot of times, at the bargaining table, there's only a few of us there, so it's important to make sure this is about our members. Therefore, we're allowing this opportunity to hear where things are at for everyone and let (members) make their decision.

"If they do authorize the strike, there's a very strict timeline that has to be followed, like each side posting their most recent proposals publicly and a few other things that go into it. ... It takes awhile."

The strike vote was announced after a five-hour meeting Wednesday evening among the union, Unit 4 administrators, school board members and a federal mediator produced "no progress" for either side, White said. The mediator was called to participate in negotiations after the union decided it needed additional help finishing up the bargaining process.

Earlier this summer, the union held two informational pickets ahead of bargaining sessions to raise awareness about different issues it hoped to resolve in a new contract: district contributions to family health insurance plans, salaries and fair contracts for other certified professionals working in Champaign schools.

"We still have our main issues of needing better language that values and respects librarians and other professionals working in our buildings, and salaries haven't been addressed," White said. "Both sides are essentially still where they were before the previous session."

Union teachers' contracts expired on June 30, but bargaining sessions between Unit 4 and CFT began on April 29. Wednesday night's meeting marked the eighth negotiation between the two sides.

White said it's common for teachers to go into the school year without a contract, and during the last round of deliberations in 2013, the union called a strike vote around the same time of the year.

Sections (2):News, Local
Topics (1):Education

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787 wrote on September 02, 2016 at 7:09 am

It is the only thing that unions know... more, more, more, more, more, more, more....  and we'll punish you if we don't get it... more, more, more, more, more, more....

cuite wrote on September 02, 2016 at 9:09 am

Because the fact that as a teacher more than half of my paycheck goes into insurance for my family has nothing to do with it....

capt80 wrote on September 02, 2016 at 10:09 am

I'm sorry "cuite", I just don't believe that.

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 02, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Any time a teachers strike is mentioned, the responses are predictable.  The union-haters come out.  The jelous come out because a teacher with degrees earns more than they do.  The truth-doubters come out because they want to disregard the facts.  Every Fall, it is the same old, same old.....

prp wrote on September 02, 2016 at 1:09 pm

I have no problem believing it.  The current contract (as it the case for most districts in the area) only covers the employee.  Not their family.  

Any family coverage comes 100% from the employee's pocket.

cuite wrote on September 02, 2016 at 1:09 pm

Well you are free to believe what you want, but that's the truth.  Ask any of the 850 teachers in the district.  For anyone who doesn't yet have a master's degree (like myself) it's half of every check that goes to insurance if you want/need to cover your family.  But you're probably one of those people who think that we "get summers off"....even though the reality is we only get paid for the 185 days of the year that we actually have school (as we should).

welive wrote on September 08, 2016 at 3:09 pm

ten maybe you should get a job that works all year long with no snow days.or not had as many children.

and if you dont get paid for the summers you can always get a job wow what i idea.


C mon man wrote on September 08, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Welcome to the real world cutie. Insurance for me, my wife and two children costs us $1872 per month or about $432 per week. Yes that is outrageous and 100% due to liberalism that is being propogated primarily by educators like yourself. You are a victim of yourself and now you are whining about it. Before the ACA, we paid about $950 per month.

The median elementary teacher salary in Champaign is $48,197, so I contend that you do get paid for all year. If your insurance cost is similar to mine, then you are fairly accurate that half of your check will go to that expense. But, you are no different than anyone else other than the fact you think everyone else should pay for it just because you are a beloved teacher. Phooey. Buck up your britches cutie. In most two wage earner families half of one of the paychecks goes to insurance. Teachers are not special when it comes to benefits. You have got to pay your fair share like everyone else. The answer isnt for everyone else to pay your increased share for you. Maybe you need to look into a second job.  

All you liberals thought Obamacare was such a good idea, and now you are whining when it affects you. This is the fallout. Bet you thought your premiums were gonna go down $2500 per year didn't ya? lol. Well you are getting what you wanted and it will be difficult - but not impossible - to change it.  

C'mon, man.


BruckJr wrote on September 08, 2016 at 5:09 pm

Your numbers must be wrong.  Barry told us that the average family would see its premium drop by $2500/year after passing Obamacare.

Doug Lascounty wrote on September 09, 2016 at 7:09 am

But it's for the children . . . !  

Chicago teachers want more money too.  They can't seem to get by on $15K per pupil. 

My question to the pro teacher union crowd . . . how much do you need?   Like the tired refrain from the left to the wealthy, "pay your fair share" even though no one can define what fair share is, the teachers can't tell you how much they need, just "more."   It's always more and in three years will be "more" again. 

An aquaintance of mine is a middle school gym teacher and makes $110,000 per year.  When the schools start to prioritize teachers and not treat all positions the same then let's talk but no ne can tell me that a MS gym teacher deserves that kind of salary, not when the district could hire a kid fresh out of college and pay him $42K and get exactly the same performance and use the difference to pay the STEM and college prep teachers more.   Likewise, teaching electives like art and music etc shouldn't pay the same as teaching calc and physics regardless of how long a person has been there.  Making sure they all make 6 figures by the time they reach 54 and can retire to a fat pension isn't my responsibility either.   



Champaignite wrote on September 09, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Sorry, but I'm calling nonsense on that one.  Where does this mythical PE teacher teach, the wealthiest of the wealthy northshore suburbs?  If you say it's anywhere in this area, I would say you are boldface lying.  My 25 years and two Master's degrees have almost put me at $70,000 and there will be nowhere near six figures in the ten years or so when I retire.  Administrators, yes.  Teachers, no way.  

Are you advocating that when a teacher reaches a certain number of years or amount of salary then they should be fired because a younger teacher is cheaper?  Where exactly do you work?  Do they fire people there as they gain more experience because they are too expensive?  Exactly which business model does that emulate?  

I really don't care anymore if people are willing to play the "you don't even work all year card" because that's ridiculous too.  I work 6 days a week and most evenings.  I come in at 7:45 and usually stay until 4:30 or 5 every single weekday and work a good hunk of Sunday too.  By the time I do curriculum writing and summer professional development and start getting ready for school before it actually starts, I might have 4-5 weeks off in the summer, not the three months that people like you always claim.  How many weeks would a 25-year private sector employee who works in a position that requires a degree get for vacation?  

And as far as the snow days go that someone mentioned, I think we have taken one or two per year most years and we have to make them up so that is yet another insulting and ill-informed comment.

I'm always confused by the people who want to bash teachers because it's such an easy and overpaid gig.  How many private sector employees have been punched trying to break up fights at their jobs?  Perhaps you could get up, get a degree if you don't already have one, and come to the land of milk and honey of a public school teacher.  What's stopping you?