CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign Federation of Teachers (CFT, IFT Local 1925) filed a 10-day intent to strike notice Friday morning following eight hours of negotiations the night before, meaning teachers could walk out as early as April 4.
94% of union members said they will be on the picket line if a strike unfolds in the coming days, according to union leadership, meaning 90% of all teachers in the Champaign Unit 4 School District would be out of work.
Teachers in negotiations Thursday “proposed a compromise that would introduce an extended school day gradually and over a longer period of time so that there is more time to effectively plan how this would best support students,” CFT said in a press release Friday morning.
The school district’s only public proposal on March 4 included a 4-year contract. A sole public posting from the union asked for a 2-year contract. In a note to union members, union leadership said they were willing to compromise on three years but ultimately “could not land a deal.”
“We came to the bargaining table with what we thought was an honest compromise,” CFT co-president Mike Sitch said in a statement Friday morning. “We offered time to extend the school day beginning next year, with the opportunity to add more time in the years that follow. We asked that it be implemented incrementally to ensure success of the plan.”
Sitch said the union intends to file the 10-day notice Friday “to ensure that we are prepared should the Board refuse to negotiate further.”
The school district’s chief communications officer, Stacey Moore said the Board of Education “will not have comment beyond what is posted in the Negotiations section on the Board’s webpage,” referring back to the March 4 public posting.
Another bargaining session is scheduled for Tuesday, according to CFT leadership. Negotiations began in May 2021.