Champaign Teachers Vote to Authorize a Strike
By Jeff Bossert
Champaign’s Federation of Teachers has overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike.
Union President Cathy Mannen says despite Tuesday afternoon’s vote, the union remains optimistic heading into the next bargaining session Oct. 15. No strike date has been set.
Mannen says she hopes to hear some response in the wake of this vote.
"The purpose of the strike authorization vote was for the members to have an opportunity to have their voices heard, for us to get feedback from them about what they want from their contract."
The union and Unit 4 school board have held eight bargaining sessions since April, and brought in a federal mediator in August. The main sticking point is salary, but Mannen says uncertainty over Illinois pensions is another problem.
Mannen also says the progress of talks has been slower than where the union feels they should be this point. Unit 4 school board President Sue Grey says it’s been hard coordinating the schedules of everyone, including the mediator.
"Navigating the schedules of so many people, one being the federal mediator who is out of Indianapolis," she said. "Absolutely we'd like to be able to meet earlier and get things done, but trying to coordinate all those schedules can be a little difficult."
Grey says she’s also hopeful looking to the 15th, but if necessary, another session is scheduled for Oct. 24.