Woodland District 50 union contract talks getting tense

  • Sharon Anday is an eighth-grade science teacher and president of the Woodland Council union. She was part of a rally Tuesday outside Woodland Elementary District 50 headquarters in Gurnee in an effort to call attention to the membership's desire for a new contract.

    Sharon Anday is an eighth-grade science teacher and president of the Woodland Council union. She was part of a rally Tuesday outside Woodland Elementary District 50 headquarters in Gurnee in an effort to call attention to the membership's desire for a new contract. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

  • Chris Schrantz

    Chris Schrantz

 
 
Updated 10/1/2015 5:35 PM

Tension is escalating between the Woodland Elementary District 50 school board in Gurnee and union employees seeking a new contract.

Woodland Council union officials are upset with what they contend was the premature release of their side's most recent contract proposal by District 50 on Wednesday. The district said the union has proposed a 9.9 percent pay increase for teachers in the first year.

 

Woodland provided more details Thursday about the union's latest five-year contract offer submitted July 7. Under the proposal, teachers also want another 9.9 percent pay hike in the second year, followed by 9.5 percent raises in each of the final three years, according to the district.

Support staff employees would receive 7 percent raises in each of the first two years as proposed by the union, the district said, followed by 6.75 percent annual pay hikes for the last three years.

"The board of education shared a proposal with the union in early August," District 50 board President Chris Schrantz said. "We look forward to a formal written response from the union in order to move forward with the negotiations process and reach an agreement that will be fiscally prudent and support student learning."

Woodland's latest offer is expected to be made public Wednesday, Oct. 7, officials said. They didn't comment on why they made public the details of the union's proposal.

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Woodland Council union President Sharon Anday, an eighth-grade teacher, criticized the Woodland school board's release of the raises purportedly being sought by her side.

In a statement Thursday, she labeled the figures as "false" because the most recent union proposal has yet to complete a process for public posting on the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board website.

"The board's actions set a bad example for our education community, including our students, who depend on the board's leadership to move negotiations forward," Anday said. "This is another example of the board playing games instead of rolling up its sleeves to negotiate contract that is fair for teachers, support staff and the students we serve."

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Union and school board negotiators, with assistance from a federal mediator, met Tuesday night at Woodland headquarters on Hunt Club Road in Gurnee. While another bargaining session is scheduled for Oct. 15, the union has asked that offers from both sides be posted for public viewing on the Educational Labor Relations Board website.

Woodland officials said both sides will prepare updated offers for submission to each other, the federal mediator and the educational labor agency Oct. 7. If an agreement isn't reached within seven days, the offers will be posted on the website as early as Oct. 14.

Before Tuesday's negotiations, roughly 300 union employees and their supporters rallied outside the Woodland administration building on Hunt Club Road in Gurnee. Many in the crowd held signs reading "We Stand United" and "Our Kids Are Worth It."

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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