CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — You’re getting a glance at teachers walking in Jefferson Middle School this week, casting their votes to authorize a strike.

733 teachers voted and 91-percent of them chose to move forward with the strike, but another vote needs to happen to walk off the job.

We looked back all the way to 2010. Some places in Central Illinois have had teachers with picket lines, while others got extremely close to striking.

Teachers in Champaign are ready to strike if they need.

“I’ve got warm clothes and I’m ready to do it if I need to,” Grant Thomas, Champaign teacher, said.

On Wednesday, teachers voted to authorize a strike.

“Well it means we’re united and it’s nothing we really ever doubted of our membership,” Mike Sitch, co-president of the Champaign Federation of Teachers, said.

This isn’t the first time teachers got close to striking in Champaign. They got close to reaching a picket line in 2005, but made a deal at the last minute. In 2018, Champaign teachers and the school district bargained for 6 months. In November, they were at their last negotiation meeting before they would have gone on strike, when they reached a 3-year contract.

Champaign is not the only place this has happened. In 2019, Blue Ridge began bargaining and were able to reach a deal about a month later, but the same couldn’t be said for Decatur, where teaching assistants spent three days picketing.

Then in 2010, Mahomet-Seymour and Danville teachers both went on strike asking for more money. While North Mac teachers were close to striking, before reaching a deal.

The Champaign Teachers’ Union and the school board will meet Friday (1/28/22) to negotiate.

We’ve done some research and one of the oldest strikes we could find in Champaign was back in 1986.
There was a picket line. Fast forward to now, teachers will have to go through a second vote for the intent to strike as well as legal filing.