CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — After multiple tips, WCIA has confirmed members of the Champaign Federation of Teachers will vote Wednesday on whether to give the union authorization to call a strike if demands are not met by Champaign Schools.

A source familiar with the situation who asked to remain unnamed citing fear that identifying them would interfere with negotiations said the vote would only give the union authorization to start the process. They would still need to go through other legal steps to actually go on strike.

Ahead of the vote, about 900 union members will have the chance to weigh in on desired changes and if they think a strike is necessary. The source said that at this point, a strike is possible but not set in stone.

The union still has a chance to ratify the school board’s latest proposal.

In the past few weeks, WCIA has reported on staffing challenges and a proposed prolonged school day at Champaign Schools.

There is no word yet what the strike discussion is concerning.

The union announced Friday it will hold a solidarity rally Monday ahead of a school board meeting.

Read the full release here:

Champaign, IL – Teachers in Champaign Unit 4 School District will hold a solidarity rally in advance of an upcoming scheduled bargaining session with the School Board. As bargaining drags on and Covid continues to complicate a third year of teaching, frustration for families and teachers grows. The District continues to ask more and more of its already overtaxed staff. 

“We are here to show support to and honor the work of our elementary colleagues and all of our members as they continue to go above and beyond, under constantly changing circumstances, to keep students in school and learning,” said CFT Co-President Mike Sitch. “The Board is proposing an extension of 55 minutes to the elementary school day. Unfortunately, the District just doesn’t have the staff, the capacity, or the track record to facilitate this change even one year down the road. We are asking the Board to listen to the experts — those dedicated educators who work with our students in classrooms across the District every single day. The situation in our schools right now is dire – we fear the ramifications of this proposal. Our students and our community deserve better.”

This action by teachers comes on the heels of public comments made at the last board meeting, when Sitch described the dire context of what it takes to work in district schools right now. Information about the rally follows:

WHAT:     Solidarity rally for Champaign teachers, students, parents, and community members before the school board meeting

WHO:       Champaign Federation of Teachers Co-Presidents Mike Sitch and Lisa Milkereit

WHEN:     Monday, January 24, 4 PM

WHERE:   Outside of the Mellon Building
                  703 S. New St. Champaign, IL 61820

This is a developing story.