Woodland Dist. 50 union employees rally for new deal

  • Teachers and other union employees rallied Tuesday outside Woodland Elementary District 50 headquarters in Gurnee. They were trying to call attention to their quest for a new contract.

    Teachers and other union employees rallied Tuesday outside Woodland Elementary District 50 headquarters in Gurnee. They were trying to call attention to their quest for a new contract. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

  • Teachers and other union employees in Woodland Elementary District 50 have been working without a contract since the school year began in August.

    Teachers and other union employees in Woodland Elementary District 50 have been working without a contract since the school year began in August. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/29/2015 10:15 PM

Teachers and other union members at Woodland Elementary District 50 in Gurnee rallied near a busy street late Tuesday afternoon in an effort to call attention to their quest for a new contract.

About 300 union employees and their supporters gathered outside the district headquarters on Hunt Club Road in Gurnee before another contract negotiation session with assistance from a mediator.

 

Neither union officials nor District 50 board President Chris Schrantz could publicly divulge details about the negotiations.

"The board intends to continue to negotiate in good faith under the guidance of the federal mediator, with the goal to expeditiously reach an agreement on a new contract," Schrantz said inside the Woodland administration building away from the rally.

Roughly 800 members of the Woodland Council union -- a branch of the Lake County Federation of Teachers -- have been working without a deal since the school year began in August. Woodland teachers, bus drivers and support workers are in the union.

Many in Tuesday's crowd held signs reading as "We Stand United" and "Our Kids Are Worth It." Some honks of approval came from cars and a Gurnee Fire Department truck passing by on Hunt Club Road.

Woodland Council President Sharon Anday, an eighth-grader science instructor, said the rally was organized to show the employees are backing each other and have a desire for a "fair, equitable contract."

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"I would say that we have been trying to work collaboratively," Anday said. "We're currently in mediation and we're hopeful. We want what's best for all of our employees and what's best for kids. So, we're hoping to get this taken care of."

In late August, District 50 officials announced the mediator had been brought in to assist in the union contract negotiations. Board members agreed on the mediator with the Woodland Council.

Woodland union members last went on strike in 2003. Teachers, bus drivers and maintenance workers all were off the job for 11 days.

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