A meeting held at Galesburg High School Thursday evening invited the entire membership of the teacher’s union to both gather information and ask questions about ongoing contract negotiations and the potential to strike.
GEA Spokesperson Tami Qualls, who was unable to provide a vote tally, says area residents should be talking to their representative board members.
“They are elected officials that are supposed to make sure a school district runs properly and has the best education offered for students,” says Qualls. “If people who vote for them, all of us, the public, put pressure or ask them to please resolve this, I think there can be something positive.”
Now that the vote has been taken, the intent-to-strike notice will be filed with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. 10 days is legally required to pass before District 205 teachers can formally strike. According to union officials, however, the GEA will wait just shy of two weeks, or until the start of school, before making the decision.
Sources say GEA representatives have solicited local banks for potential loans to cover teacher salaries in the instance a strike occurs for an extended period.
Salary, firings, and retirement language has put District 205 at an impasse with the teacher’s union in the negotiations. Qualls says parents could soon have to make plans for their children should a strike occur.
“Pretty much we felt like the board has not listened, they have not fairly negotiated and represented the taxpayers, our community, our students, and our educators in the fact of not resolving this contract,” says Qualls.
Ballots were cast after about two hours of discussion among the GEA membership. Teachers were asked not to speak with members of the media after Thursday night’s gathering.
Additional mediation sessions are scheduled on August 11th and 12th – which could be both District 205’s and the GEA’s last chance to avoid a strike before the start of school.
Contract offers on the table from both sides can be read by CLICKING HERE.