Suburban Chicago Teachers File Intent to Strike

The strike could go into effect the day students are expected to return to school following the holiday break.

Saturday, Dec 22, 2012  |  Updated 2:12 PM CDT
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Suburban Chicago Teachers File Intent to Strike

Teachers in a suburban Chicago school district have given notice they could strike as early as Jan. 7.

Teachers in West Chicago Elementary District 33 voted earlier this month to file their intent to strike, according to the teachers’ union website. The paperwork was filed Friday, the Daily Herald reported.

"We want to compromise and the board has pushed us into this corner because they will not meet us halfway," the union's chief negotiator Mary Catherine Kosmach told the Daily Herald.

The delivery of this notice sets in motion a 10 day period after which the teachers are legally permitted to strike, stated a press release from the West Chicago Elementary School District.

Kosnach said teachers had been hopeful they could reach a compromise with the school board over key issues, particularly regarding health insurance premiums, Daily Herald stated. But she said no compromise had been reached as of this week.

The school board president said the district must cap the amount it pays for health insurance in order to balance the budget.

"We were forced to declare an impasse on December 3rd when we were told by ETAWC that they were unwilling to make any concessions in healthcare," stated Board President Dr. Chris Scheck in the release.  "Healthcare changes are an essential component to balancing our budget."

The two sides also have disagreed on salary and class sizes.

Jan. 7 would be students' first day of school following the holiday break.

"The District is prepared to provide services to parents in the event of a strike, which may or may not occur, as early as January 7, 2013," stated District 33 Superintendent Dr. Kathy Wolfe.

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