Members of the West Chicago High School Teachers’ Association voted Friday to authorize a strike, according to the Illinois Education Association.
The WCHSTA is made up of 141 teachers at Community High School in West Chicago who have been working without a contract since the beginning of the school year, the IEA said in a statement.
Friday’s vote was cast amid negotiations between the union and the District 94 Board of Education that began in April 2016.
“A strike is the last thing our members want. Our students and our school are what are most important to us,” WCHSTA President Brad Larson said in a statement. “But we also realize that unless we are able to attract and retain talented staff, our students and our communities will suffer. We know the district has the funds to offer us a fair salary without raising taxes, and we believe it’s time for the BOE to do what’s right.”
At issue in the negotiations is the annual pay increase, the IEA said. The WCHSTA's last offer asked for an average, annual 4.25 percent increase for four years, according to a statement from the IEA, while the board offered a 3 percent increase for four years based on the consumer price index.
By law, the union has to give the district 10 days notice before going on strike, according to the IEA. While no strike date has been set, the organization said the WCHSTA was entering into a lease for a strike headquarters and passed out yard signs and posts to community members on Saturday.
The next bargaining date was set for Feb. 7 at 5 p.m., the IEA said. Representatives for District 94 did not immediately respond to requests for comment.