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D46 Teachers' Union Approves Authorization to Strike if Necessary

An overwhelming majority of teachers in Grayslake District 46 have voted to authorize a strike if necessary, as a result of stalled contract negotiations with the school board. However, union officials said there has been no decision to actually strike.

Update, Oct. 17: Statement from Supt. Ellen Correll

As reported in the media, District 46 teachers voted this week to authorize a strike, IF NECESSARY. After the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) receives the final offers from both the Board of Education and the Teachers' Union, the teachers will have a 10 day waiting period before considering to walk out. It is my hope that both sides will continue to bargain in good faith. The Board of Education and the Teachers' Union are currently working with a Federal Mediator.

Please continue to monitor the CCSD46 website for updates.

Ellen Correll
Superintendent of Schools

Lake County Federation of Teachers Local 504 representative Jeff Pergander told Patch Tuesday afternoon that of the 327 Grayslake District 46 teachers who were eligible to vote to authorize a strike yesterday, 320 cast ballots.

"Of the 320, three voted to accept the (school) board's offer; 317 rejected the offer."

The vote, said Pergander, authorizes the teachers' union "to call for a strike if necessary."

By law, the union would have to give 10 days strike notice, but the union "has no intention of starting that process," said Pergander.

"We still hope to get back to the table and negotiate."

Pergander said they have the services of a federal mediator, but no date has been set for the next bargaining session.

Because the school district declared an impasse last week, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will require the union and school board to post their last offers/positions and the related costs on the State of Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board Website.

This information, which the public can view, is expected to be posted in the middle of next week, said Pergander, though it is up to the labor relations board to determine precisely when it will be posted.

Pergander said the three main sticking points D46 teachers have is "the board's desire to reduce flex benefits that teachers can get in lieu of health insurance; a reduction in retirement benefits; and salaries."

The District 46 teachers' union voted to strike in 2008, but it never came to fruition, and the union agreed to a 3-year contract.

For the 2010-11 school year, said Mike McGue, president of the Lake County Federation of Teachers Local 504, the union accepted a salary reduction "to protect jobs."

The teachers' union has now been working without a contract since June 30, 2012.

Union officials said the school district's Educational Support Personnel, a separate bargaining unit which covers about 190 non-certified staff members, is working without a contract as well.

Teachers in North Shore District 112 are now on strike.

Grayslake D46 Teachers' Union Prepares to Vote to Authorize a Strike

data_driven October 19, 2012 at 10:26 AM
What cuts are being made? How much will these salary increases cost the district?
Terri October 19, 2012 at 12:30 PM
The benefit reduction is revenue neutral for the contract proposed. It simply takes benefit from 138 and redistributes it to 327 (sans retires). So we upset 138 to make 200 gain at their colleagues expense with a zero gain to the district? What's the point? To polarize? The 138 will never ratify a contract with this provision and I think there's enough solidarity amongst the other 200 to make it fail.
Tim Froehlig October 19, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Since it is revenue neutral like you mention, what is the other alternative Terri? Oh, that's right, the other alternative would be to keep giving those who have more benefits what they already have, then have someone, i.e. taxpayers or some other area in the budget, foot the bill for those who don't. So if we have it your way, it winds up costing the taxpayers more in the end. We don't have anymore money to be giving, what part of that is so confusing? The reason, as I will repeat for what seems like the thousandth time, that the proposal is revenue neutral is because the board does not want to have any proposal that winds up costing taxpayers more in the end, or results in having programs for these kids cut in the budget. Scream that this is revenue neutral all you want. The only other option to make ALL the teachers happy is to ask someone for more money. Money we don't have. People are broke and the district is in the red. So who should pay to keep the 200 people happy while 138 teachers don't get what they want? Should they instead propose to leave things as they are and upset 200 people instead? You don't provide any alternative idea to this problem whatsoever Terri. You can't have it both ways. If you want things to be level for all teachers in a revenue-neutral situation, more money WILL have to come from somewhere. So, again, where do you propose that cash comes from Terri? Where????
Terri October 19, 2012 at 02:38 PM
The teachers, all of them, say just leave it alone; it doesn't save the district anything in the proposed contract. Its a shame that the unions proposal is not posted. There is nothing in the boards proposal on this item that a.) benefits the taxpayer, or b.) benefits the 327. It is devisive and polarizing.
Terri October 19, 2012 at 02:43 PM
BTW...revenue neutral means nothing is gained or lost. Would you prefer i call it savings neutral? it just shifts dollars from one teacher to another. There is no net effect on the 200 in terms of benefits; they just get a one time taxable bonus of $1300. The 138, however, get their benefits reduced by half.
Tim Froehlig October 19, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Again, you have failed to answer my question. I am well-aware of what revenue-neutral means. You still do nothing to explain how the extra costs would be paid for, however, as I asked you to explain.
Terri October 19, 2012 at 03:19 PM
PART TWO… Prior to 2006, all D46 teachers received $6,200 in cafeteria-style benefits. They chose from a menu of coverage. In 2006, the district decided to move to another plan. Those desiring medical/dental coverage through the district’s group were allowed to choose that option and the district absorbed the total cost for individual coverage. Those that preferred to obtain their coverage on the open market (represented by the 138) were “grandfathered” into the $6,200 benefit. Any new hires were entered into the districts group. The districts group was, and is, a poor HMO. It’s cost has gone up significantly over the past 6 years and the district continues to shoulder the entire cost for those that represent the “200”. The “138” are allowed to buy into the district program at open enrollment any year by giving up the $6,200. Many have, and many will, despite the expensive poor coverage. So, while rising costs have actually made the value of the coverage for the 200 far more valuable than the $6,200 the 138 receive, the contract proposal wants to reduce the benefit for the 138 and give much of it to the 200 that already receive health/dental insurance at no cost. The 327 aren’t interested in this proposal. It saves the district nothing in the proposed contract. It cuts no cost. It raised no revenue. It serves only to polarize the teachers.
Nightcrawler October 19, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Thanks, Terri.
Tim Froehlig October 19, 2012 at 04:04 PM
And yet again I continue to wait for your explanation of an alternative plan that wouldn't cost taxpayers any extra money.....and will continue to wait.
Terri October 19, 2012 at 04:19 PM
I'm sorry the teacher's proposal hasn't been posted...the district has it. Be nice to see it so we could discuss an answer to your question. For now, suffice it to say, anything would save save the district more than this issue because it saves nothing and costs nothing in the current proposal. How about every teacher throws one penny in a bucket. That would give the district a savings of $3.27 over this part of the proposed contract. Kidding aside, why is the board trying to polarize the teachers on flex benefit when it contributes $0 to deficit reduction?
Tim Froehlig October 19, 2012 at 04:26 PM
What you fail to mention is that the reason the district did so back in 2006 was because those teachers wanted that option. It was THEIR choice to want to be able to choose to either take the district's offer, or find their own health insurance. Now that costs have risen, they suddenly feel differently, DESPITE the fact it was THEIR choice to enter the open market in the first place? Even with the re-distribution of the monies (which will help increase the salaries of the poorer teachers), the 138, who are in most cases making more to begin with, will still be allocated enough money to pay for their own health insurance if they so choose. The only ones who seem to be polarizing anything is the teachers themselves. They seem to me, by your own words, in a tug-of-war over who gets more in what is an awful economy. And if your statement is accurate, all the teachers still have the option to buy into the district's health care program or not to, if they so choose. The only thing changing here is the poorer teachers will suddenly see a little more cash in their pockets.
Tim Froehlig October 19, 2012 at 04:34 PM
And what you again fail to mention Terri, is that part of the reason the board wants to redistribute some of that money to the poorer teachers is so they can CHOOSE to and AFFORD to enter into their own health care program if they choose to, rather than the district's, which you say is awful. The board is simply trying to make it affordable for the poorer teachers to have the SAME healthcare options as the wealthier ones by allowing them to afford to do so. Why is that such a horrible thing? So you are saying the poorer teachers (200) shouldn't have the same right as the wealthier teachers to choose between private and the district's healthcare options? You feel they should be stuck with the district's "poor HMO" as you call it, while the 138 teachers have more options because they make more and can afford to do so? Sorry, but by your explanation and standards, you seem to feel the 138 teachers should be treated with a different set of standards than the 200 are. That they somehow aren't worthy of being treated as equals when it comes to healthcare options. That's not fair.
Tim Froehlig October 19, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Here's an idea, I have half-sarcastically. Cut everything in the budget by around 2 percent. Deficit gone. Then no one can comlpain they were singled out. That's what the state will do if they take over the finances.
Terri October 19, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Tim This has nothing to do with rich v poor. It was a decision teachers made in 2006! There are as many teachers at the upper end receiving flex as at the lower end! Where on earth did you get that idea? Under the boards proposal in this contract, costs for health/dental for the 200 remain $0. They get $1,300 on top of that $0 do do with as they choose. The 138 lose half their benefit ($3100) and get back $1,300. Their net loss is $1,800 for what?
Terri October 19, 2012 at 05:03 PM
And don't forget...the redistribution is a one-time deal. After that, the net gain for the 200 is $0 and the net loss for the 138 becomes $3100. Want to save money on this line item? Put healthcare out to bid. The board would rather polarize the teachers than make the effort. The 138 aren't complaining or feeling differently about the choice they made in '06. If they become dissatisfied with what they can get on the open market, they join the D46 group. If you think a one-time bonus of $1,300 will enable any of the 200 to enter that open market, it goes against everything the people in the private sector are posting in these threads regarding healthcare cost.
Terri October 19, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Half-sarcastically I would agree. No one is singled out. That would be fair, if it were possible.
HM October 19, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Terri - Your comment above about putting the health care out to bid is right on the money. That is the one area in the budget that has potential for great savings! I do not know why it has not been done yet. It has been brought up time and time again, but no one is listening. It does not mean great coverage for all, but there is potential for better coverage for less money than what they have. It costs nothing to at least investigate it and put it out for bid. And regarding raises, increased benefits, etc...I'll say it again - there is no money, anywhere, for these things. It is time for a pardigm shift, and one that is unpleasant at the very least. Not just at the school level, but at all levels. We as a community, a state, and a nation need to fully evaluate wants vs. needs - resources (ie money) is much more scarce that 10 -15 years ago. Padding pensions will not only break us all financially, but given the state of things, is just plain wrong to even request.
Terri October 19, 2012 at 06:01 PM
I guess if the board wanted to be taken seriously, they might remove the flex benefit issue from the table as it serves no purpose than to polarize the employees. Everything you stated above makes good common sense to me. However, you need a good understanding of teacher compensation over the years to understand pensions. Giving it the negative connotation of "pension padding" is neither accurate or productive.
Terri October 19, 2012 at 06:03 PM
On the pension, I meant "you" as the universal "you". Not HM...
Tim Froehlig October 19, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Terri, if it is only a one-time bonus, then it is not revenue-neutral in the long-term, as you claim. And getting an extra $1,300 may help some afford private health care, yes. As hard as it may be for you to believe.
Tim Froehlig October 19, 2012 at 07:30 PM
How is backloading someone's salary or pension at the tail end of their contract by increasing it the final three or four years not "pension padding?" Just because you feel discussing it isn't "productive" doesn't make it any less accurate or true.
Tim Froehlig October 19, 2012 at 07:33 PM
The reason why the term you use, "pension padding," has a negative connotation among many readers is because it is something that will ultimately wind up costing taxpayers more money in all likelihood. The money has to come from somewhere. And even if the board removes the flex benefit issue, all that is going to happen is the 200 teachers making less money will then be the ones who are angry. It's a no-win situation for the board, even if they remove that item....because there will still be a lot of unhappy teachers.
Terri October 19, 2012 at 07:48 PM
As I stated before, the term pension padding has a negative connotation and does not accurately describe the process. One needs an understanding of the compensation plan over a career to grasp the intricacies; you do not have that understanding and don't appear to be interested. You continue to insinuate that the 138 earn more than the 200. That is grossly untrue and very misleading.
Terri October 19, 2012 at 07:50 PM
And BTW...ask any of the 200 if they think the flex issue is fair. I'd venture to guess there are only 3; if that.
Dr October 22, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Terri, I for one would love for you to explain the "intricacies" which makes the practice of auto increases prior to collecting pension acceptable in today's business climate.
Terri October 25, 2012 at 06:05 PM
I only get 1,500 characters on this board. I suggest you take it up with any retiree; they can explain the costs and concessions required over an entire career to justify their end year raises.
Tim Froehlig October 25, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Similarly, any senior citizen living on social security or a fixed income that is at risk of losing their home that's been in their family for generations could mount a strong case from the opposite spectrum now, couldn't they? Perhaps you should justify to them why they keep having to pay more and more money they don't have to those who do, which could render them homeless eventually.
Terri October 25, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Teachers didn't pay into SS and aren't entitled to it's promises. They did pay heavily into their pensions and expect those promises to be kept. Are we not living up to the promises we made to seniors on SS?
tim spencer January 07, 2013 at 03:57 AM
only way possible is one teacher had many years previous teaching, or was an admin and bumped her down, or is doing a tone of coaching stipend curriculum work?
tim spencer January 07, 2013 at 04:07 AM
A community is NO BETTER than their educational system and people put their money on what they value. If you want excellent respectable teachers you need to pay them at Least cost of living wages otherwise you will not get good educators. People are running away from education because of all the legislation and cuts and low pay for the years of experience and education. I wouldn't want my kids to be teachers. Why have them work their butts off everyday in a stressful environment when they can sit in front of a computer call on some clients and sit in a nice chair in an airconditioned office like I do, and prob most of you do, and make a crap load more money? Pretty soon, GL will have the education of Round Lake. Let's see the property values plunge. Open up your pocket books grayslake tax payers or watch your garages get spraypainted.

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