Teacher strike possible


Julia Guglielmo

The logo and values that HHSTA shares on its t-shirt.

The fear of Hinsdale Central students losing their Homecoming loomed the halls the day after September 9, 2014. This was the day the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association (HHSTA) filed its notice to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board to begin a public posting process of current contract offers, which is the first step needed in the event of a strike.

The actual timeline for contract negotiations began September 23, 2013 when the HHSTA and the school board met to discuss contract offers. This was the end of a four year timeline of the previous contract; therefore, it was routine to revisit working conditions and contract language.  It is almost a year later, and there is still no agreement.  Mr. Bowman, a teacher at Hinsdale Central, said, “Teachers have made a lot of concessions to avert a strike.  However, we have to draw a line somewhere. If we accept what is proposed now, it will financially hurt teachers.”

The board, however, believes differently as it was said in a statement from the District 86 Board of Education on Sept. 9, “The mechanisms of defining those financial terms were in the beginning stages and moving forward, when suddenly, less than 48 hours after submitting the offer, HHSTA initiated the public posting process.”

Bowman pointed to the fact that up until the public posting, the association had not received a complete proposal from the board since negotiations began last September. With both offers publicly posted, the association hopes to make progress at the next meeting, which the board scheduled for next week.

When asked how a strike could affect Central’s student body Melanie McGarrah, senior, said, “The pep rally will not happen and cause pommers and cheerleaders not to perform.”  McGarrah said that these events boost student morale and pride.

Senior, Tia Nelson added, “There would not be a football game, and it would affect our traditions.” However, on Sunday, Sept. 14, HHSTA wrote in a press release, “While the timing of the posting process makes a strike possible before Homecoming, we are committed to preserving Homecoming for the students.” This satisfied students’ fears, but the teachers still have much to face.

This past week a group of 17 teachers came under investigation, which has since been called off, for “liking” a post on a news story this past summer. A story about contract negotiations that appeared in the Patch newspaper had a photo inadvertently attached to it that included an ax in a windshield. The Patch took responsibility for this misplaced photo in August.

Bowman highlighted that HHSTA wants to solely focus on contract negotiations, which has garnered community support through a petition that has taken off from change. org, which includes more than 700 community member signatures asking for the board to accept HHSTA’s current proposal. To see more information on the current proposal, visit hhsta.org.