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Day Two: Strike Marches On, No Talks Set

Teachers continue to picket as day two of the Evergreen Park District 124 teachers strike rolls on. Read a recap of the latest developments.

The latest update: D124 Calls Bagaining Session With Teachers Union for Wednesday

Day two of the Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124 teachers strike continues without another bargaining session scheduled. 

As Patch reported earlier this morning, the district does not expect to allow teachers to make-up for the days they have missed during the strike. Instead, an alternate plan involving substitutes and volunteers is being considered for the strike make-up days.

Read: D124 Plays Hardball With EP Teachers Union

On the picket lines today, union leaders were disheartened that language about make-up days was even discussed at the final bargaining session on Monday. 

 “I’ve never seen in 16 years a board of education put that language in before a strike even happens,” said Dave Comerford, spokesman for the Illinois Federation of Teachers. 

Today the district released a statement containing many of the same points D124 Superintendent Dr. Robert Machak made to Patch earlier. A full copy is attached to this post. The statement reads in part:

The Board believes it is the strike that is unconscionable and harmful to students, parents and the community.  The Union’s activities leading to the strike were harmful to the students, parents and the community.  This Board does not intend to reward striking employees who harm the students, their parents and our community.

In front of Central Junior High Evergreen Park Federation of Teachers co-president Mariellen Newquist said that the board’s  stance on make-up days sends a disappointing message to teachers and the community.

“The message seems very misguided.” Newquist said. “It seems to be more about how they can punish us.”

Just before noon the union received a message from Machak that he hoped to get back to the table. A bargaining session has not yet been scheduled.

Comerford hopes any meeting session would see the board arrive with some movement on their terms. 

"The fact that they left it open until Friday was, in my opinion, sending a message that you are not going to see anything new before then," Comerford said. 

As both sides await the next round of talks, teachers, parents and students continue to demonstrate. A group of parents entered the district office Tuesday morning to voice their concerns. 

Strikers continue to march down 95th Street and demonstrate at each of the district's five schools. A group of students from Southwest and Southeast elementary schools even wrote a parody version of this hit song "Call Me Maybe." A video is attached to this post. 

Read Past Coverage of the Contract Negotiations:

  • Strike On: EP Teachers Walk Picket Line
  • Last Chance for EP Teachers and D124 to Avoid Strike
  • Scenes of a Protest: EP Teachers Stage Noisy Rally on 95th Street
  • Threat of EP Teachers Strike Looms
  • EP Teachers Set Oct. 2 Strike Date
  • No Agreement In D124 Contract Talks

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Concerned Citizen October 03, 2012 at 07:28 PM
What a terrible message these teachers are sending to their students and the community at large. Their loud and obnoxious demonstrations are not going to garner much sympathy from the EP village. I hope the school board fires them all and hires new faculty at a lower cost to the taxpayers. It would be a great improvement!
TM October 03, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Do you think board members threatening the teachers and staff is a good message to the community? Do you think the district (the superintendent and the assistant super) calling the police is a good message? And before you comment they called the police because parents wanted answers. Some parents went in the district offices and they called the cops on them. This board HAS GOT TO GO. And unknown, you can go with them
Taxpaying Parent October 03, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Please see the latest post from the district webpage. I would really like to read the union's side of why they chose to walk that evening. http://www.d124.org/Strike/Media%20Release%2010%2003%2012%20(4).pdf I do find it sad that as a community we have resorted to viscious attacks for those not supporting the teachers. Just as the union has the right to strike, we as taxpayers of EP and parents of these affected students have the right to vocalize our opinions. I feel our teachers do a fantastic job very thrilled with the education that they provide to our chidren and I also feel the board's offer was perfectly acceptable. Benefits have been cut, that is the growing trend in all companies. They are not losing jobs, I believe both sides have agreed to the raises, etc, this is about insurance and retirement. They could of continued to teach and worked out these differences. I wonder how this affects the kids, they see the teachers they love walk off and do not understand why. They may see their parents or other adults getting very emotional and at times nasty about this strike. What is this strike teaching our children about trying your best no matter what? What is this strike teaching our children about treat others the way you want to be treated? What is this strike teaching our children about the rules they are to follow at school 'PBIS' which is drilled into their heads daily. Be Responsible, Be Ready and Be Respectful.
jjb October 03, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I'm interested in knowing what threats were made to the teachers and staff? I would find it hard to believe that the police would be called for people showing up and just asking questions. There is probably more to the story than what has been stated.
jjb October 03, 2012 at 08:24 PM
I agree with "Taxpaying Parent". In addition, I would like to see the union's response to the link below. http://www.d124.org/Strike/FAQs.pdf
Betsy T. October 03, 2012 at 08:47 PM
The Union is keeping their Facebook page up to date: https://www.facebook.com/EPFT124 Additionally, there is a photo with their FAQs: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=351448401611185&set=pb.303411989748160.-2207520000.1349296579&type=1&theater
jjb October 03, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Betsy - Thanks for the information. However, I'm still not seeing a good rebuttal here. For example, they state that board has a surplus and 16 mil in funds. I don't think this is new. The boards stance however is that this money is to be used for improvement projects. As a parent of a student in the district I have been concerned about over-crowded classrooms, mobile units for classrooms, student-to-teacher ratios, etc., which I believe the proper allocations of this money would help. I'm not seeing the union address this directly nor any of the other comments in the boards FAQ or other communications. In fact they do show that their salaries are in the middle of the pack. I'm not yet convinced that the boards requests are unreasonable.
Southside October 03, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Dumbest thing said during this whole thing. Congrats.
Southside October 03, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Smartest thing said during all this. Congrats.
BC October 04, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Just go round up those teachers that could not hold a candle to the staff that I have experienced in the 9 years of living in the district. Good luck with all that. Stupid people should have no access to this comment section when they leave uneducated statements and are not big enough to put their name on it.
siumom October 05, 2012 at 03:59 AM
. . . and not to be bullied. We are a no bullying school district!
siumom October 05, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Police were called in (5 or 6 squad cars) for the parents who wanted answers as to why the students weren't in school yet and to get on with the negotiations which the school board had no intention of doing until late Friday.
Concerned October 09, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I think it's time to let the EPFT know that the silent majority exists, contrary to what you may think after reading the above article. Please continue to email the board (d124.org) with your support, but now also send an email to epft124@gmail.com.

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