The union representing teachers in Mount Prospect Elementary District 57 voted overwhelmingly Thursday night to declare an intent to strike -- a formal declaration that legally paves the way for an actual strike as soon as 10 days from now.
During a closed-door meeting of the Mt. Prospect Education Association, 97 percent of members present voted in favor of declaring their intent to strike, according to a union news release.
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While the vote Thursday night begins a 10-day period after which teachers may strike, no strike date has been announced, and union officials said they hope to reach a settlement quickly so a strike can be averted.
There has never been a strike in District 57.
"We have negotiated in good faith for almost a year to reach a settlement that is fair to all our members and is good for the students of District 57," union spokeswoman Carolyn Story said in a statement. "There has been very little progress at the bargaining table, even with the help of a federal mediator. It is with deep sadness that our members voted their intent to strike."
Negotiators for the union and school board have been in discussions for the past 11 months, and on Jan. 17, the union filed a formal impasse notice with the state because of what the union described as a lack of progress in the talks.
Compensation and contract language regarding teacher evaluations and "reduction in force" procedures have been among the issues of contention.
Teachers have been working without a contract since the last one expired on June 30 of last year.
Negotiating teams from both sides are expected to meet again Feb. 5.