Latest Evergreen Park Strike Talks End With No Deal

Teachers now want a mediator to handle negotiations

Negotiations in the Evergreen Park teacher strike ended early Thursday with no deal in place, forcing a third day off for 1,800 students in suburban District 124.

Teachers left the latest round of talks after midnight, saying they felt disrespected and rudely treated by the district. A statement from the group said the school board rejected their latest proposal despite movement on health insurance issues.

"What the real disadvantage here is the tone it set, the hard feelings it's created, the level of disrespect it's created," said Dave Comerford with the Evergreen Park Federation of Teachers Local 943. "It certainly doesn't help anything."

Comerford claims there was an outburst during the Wednesday night meeting from the district's attorneys and said the teachers will no longer meet with the board face-to-face.

The teachers now want a mediator to handle negotiations by communicating with both parties in separate rooms.

As the strike enters its third day, teachers could lose out on pay for each day they're off the job. The district said students will make up the days, but employees who walk out will not. The board said it will not reward those who harm students, parents and the community.

Negotiations are scheduled to resume around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Talks broke down Monday, sparking a teacher strike after more than five months of weekly negotiations.

"The last proposal that they put on the table was unacceptable, so we have to get to a point where we can reach something that's a compromise that can end this strike," Comerford said.

Two of the major issues on the table include compensation and health insurance.

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