The Murphysboro Education Association (MEA) could walk out on strike as early as Sept. 25 after submitting the group’s last contract proposal to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board earlier this month.
"The last thing we want to do is go on strike, but we are willing to do whatever it takes to put our students first,” MEA lead negotiator Catlin Langellier told KFVS. “We have made financial concessions in the past in order to put our students first. The district is now standing on financially solid ground, and we’re asking them to make good on their promise to make us whole again.”
MEA members, who include 152 teachers, counselors, nurses and social workers, have been without a contract since early August. The next Murphysboro Community Unit School District 186 board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 24. The district serves more than 2,000 students.
The threat of a teacher work stoppage also hangs over the Carbondale Board of Education, where contract talks between the union and the Carbondale Education Association (CEA) have reached a stalemate. Board President John Major said the two sides remain at odds over issues that include annual raise increases and student safety concerns.
“We want to be in our classrooms with our students, not out on the picket line," CEA President Melissa Norman told KFVS. "We have been negotiating with the board for months, and it appears they are not interested in reaching a fair agreement as soon as possible. We continually offer to meet them halfway during negotiations, but the board repeatedly takes steps backward instead of forward."