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Dist. 86 Teacher's Union Authorizes Strike

Dist. 86 school board reacts to teachers' union's vote to strike: "It's a tactic reminiscent of Karen Lewis and the Chicago Teachers' Union," board president Dr. Richard Skoda says.

Dist. 86 Teacher's Union Authorizes Strike

With less than 28 days left in the current teacher's contract, the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association has authorized a teachers’ strike should the union be unable to settle on a multi-year contract with the Dist. 86 school board by June 30.

The Hinsdale High School Teachers Association represents the district’s 377 teachers at Central and South High Schools, and is the teachers’ exclusive bargaining representative.

By what margin the measure passed is not known.

The announcement was made Monday afternoon by D86 board president, Dr. Richard Skoda, who called the union’s strike vote “surprisingly premature.”

“In a tactic reminiscent of Karen Lewis and the Chicago Teachers’ Union,” Skoda said in a written statement, “Naomi Shepherd, the National Education Association representative of the District 86 teachers, called for the strike vote before the end of the current school year and prior to the expiration date of the current contract between the board and its teachers.”

After five bargaining sessions, the school board agreed with the teachers’ union’s request to bring in a third-party federal mediator.

Skoda told the Doings that the teachers’ strike vote occurred the same week as the first mediation session, which was May 27.

A source told Patch that school board officials learned of the union’s strike authorization vote during preparations for Hinsdale Central’s graduation last Thursday.

The teachers’ union submitted an initial monetary proposal, requesting salary increases that would add 5.45-percent to teacher salary costs in the first year for D86 teachers earning an average of $111,000 annually, Skoda said.

The school board has publicly made its intentions known of seeking a settlement that is fair to taxpayers and teachers. On May 27, Skoda said in his written statement that the board offered salary increases and performance pay that reflect the Consumer Price Index.

The vote authorizing a strike does not necessarily mean that Hinsdale Township teachers will walk the picket line when their contract expires on June 30. State laws require that certain procedures are followed -- including a notice of intent -- before teachers can legally strike.

Naomi Shepherd, of the National Education Association, and members of the Hinsdale High School Teachers’ Association, could not immediately be reached for comment.

On Monday evening, members of the teacher's union strolled down 75th Street wearing blue HHSTA T-shirts and carrying signs stating, "Concerned about the tradition of excellence," and "Commited to our students, our community and our profession," The Doings reported.

“The issue we are trying to communicate today is not about (contract) negotiations,”  David Lapetino, president of the teachers’ association at South, told the paper. “It’s the issues that have been going on throughout the school year.”

Earlier this year. U.S. News and World Report ranked Hinsdale Central the seventh best high school in Illinois, and placed Hinsdale South at 34th.

The Washington Post also listed Hinsdale South in Darien as the “11th most challenging high school in Illinois.” Hinsdale Central similarly ranked 14th on the Washington Post list.

Skoda and fellow board members are hoping for the best in reaching “a fair and fiscally responsible agreement without a disruption” to the start of school in the fall.”

“The board is taking this HHSTA [union]  action very seriously,” Skoda said. “We are hopeful, however, that the [the teachers’ union] will continue to join us in good faith negotiations under the guidance of the federal mediator throughout the summer.”

The next meetings with the mediator are scheduled for June 10 and June 26, the Doings reported.

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