District 15, support workers have tentative deal

 
 
Updated 2/9/2018 6:50 PM
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  • Palatine Township Elementary District 15 has reached a tentative contract agreement with support employees who went on strike and returned to work without a deal in October. These employees were on a picket line at Winston Campus in Palatine.

      Palatine Township Elementary District 15 has reached a tentative contract agreement with support employees who went on strike and returned to work without a deal in October. These employees were on a picket line at Winston Campus in Palatine. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Palatine Township Elementary District 15 has reached a tentative contract agreement with support employees who went on strike and returned to work without a deal in October.

District 15 spokeswoman Morgan Delack said the tentative deal was reached Thursday with the Educational Support Personnel Association union. The district union local is affiliated with the Illinois Education Association.

Illinois Education Association spokeswoman Bridget Shanahan said Friday the members are to vote on the proposed multiyear contract Thursday, Feb. 15. The contract then would go to the District 15 school board for approval at a meeting Feb. 21.

Support employees have been without a contract since July 1. Negotiations on a new deal began in February 2017.

Details on the tentative contract are not expected to be released until approved by both sides.

Angie Drazkowski, a classroom aide at Stuart R. Paddock Elementary School in Palatine and the support employee union president, issued an upbeat statement on the pending deal.

"We're hopeful our membership ratifies this contract," Drazkowski said, "and we're optimistic we will soon be able to put all of this behind us. We're focusing on rebuilding and reconnecting with the district, and we're looking forward to seeing the positive impacts of this contract on our students and the entire D15 community."

All 454 secretaries, clerical employees, nurses and classroom aides in the Educational Support Personnel Association walked off their jobs Oct. 16. The 10-day strike ended after the workers were informed by district officials that a process to seek replacements was about to start.

District 15 officials said after the employees returned to their jobs that a "last, best" offer to them included a five-year contract with 2 percent annual raises and a $9,000-per-employee retirement benefit until 2019. The union at the time proposed a 2.5 percent increase in each year of the new contract.

The strike took a twist Oct. 17 when Cook County Judge Neil Cohen issued a temporary restraining order that forced 168 "essential" nurses and special education classroom aides back to work immediately.

A week later, the nurses and classroom aides returned to the picket lines after Cohen denied a motion filed by District 15 lawyers to prevent them from striking.

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