DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — The Decatur Federation of Teaching Assistants are planning a rally in front of the Decatur Public School District’s administration building in “attempt to avoid a strike,” according to a press release.
The rally will be at 3:30pm on Monday, October 25th, at the Keil Administration Building, 101 West Cerro Gordo Street, Decatur.
Bargaining ended on Wednesday, October 23rd, when the Board’s representatives told Union negotiators that the board polled 7-0 against any movement in health insurance premiums at the table. The Union told the Board’s team that they would stay at the table for an hour in case they wanted to reconsider that position. After 45 minutes the Board’s team increased their wage offer 18 cents in years one and two, 23 and 24 cents, respectively in years three and four.
No additional mediation dates have been set. However, the Union stands ready to bargain at any time, day or night.
If a tentative agreement is not reached the Union will strike Tuesday, October 29th.
“We had a huge turnout of members this morning to make signs at our Strike Headquarters,” says Paula Busboom, president of DFTA. “Members are very somber at the thought of striking, but they remain quite determined to strike if the Board won’t bargain.”
“It is still confusing though,” Busboom continued, “that the Board can create a new position called ‘Chief Communications Officer’, with a salary of $123,456, but they cannot move on health insurance. Something is wrong with their priorities.”
The parties’ proposals can be found on the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board’s website: https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/elrb/Pages/FinalOffers.aspx
Collective bargaining began on April 15, 2019. The parties have met fourteen times, three times with a federal mediator. The contact expired on June 30, 2019.
Local 4324 represents approximately 275 employees in the community. These employees are teaching assistants, LPNs, hearing interpreters and hearing/vision technicians. They also work one-on-one with the students in the Macon-Piatt Special Education District.