Going into mediation sessions on Monday and Tuesday of this week, representatives of the Galesburg Education Association said they were still hopeful for a contract resolution with the District 205 Board of Education.
Even in a press release on August 8th, the union said they were returning to the table on Monday with the hope of a “fair contract settlement.”
According to the Galesburg Police Department, however, a representative with the GEA filed for “parade permits” on Monday of this week, the day before the final mediation prior to the start of school. That filing also took place before a GEA membership meeting to review the latest contract proposal and determine if a strike was indeed to take place.
“The only request that we made, like I said, was not to block the sidewalk and allow free access to the sidewalks and not block and impede traffic in anyway on a corner or something like that,” says Galesburg Police Captain Rodney Riggs.
The parade permits inform the City of Galesburg, the Police Department in specific, where the strike pickets are planned to take place. According to Riggs, the documents indicate the teachers were planning to use the sidewalks only near their respective schools.
Members of the GEA have been holding signs in front of schools since Wednesday morning to make their case. Riggs tells WGIL the pickets have been relatively quiet as far as police are concerned.
“I’m sure the circumstance would arise that if they were impeding traffic, or impeding pedestrian traffic and we couldn’t work that out, I guess we’d be able to void the permit itself,” says Riggs.
Some teachers have allegedly been picketing in front of certain Galesburg businesses according to multiple sources.
The GEA specified and requested that the parade permit would be valid for a period of two weeks. Should the teacher strike continue beyond that point, a permit would need to be re-filed for pickets to proceed.