East St. Louis teachers on Tuesday afternoon voted to go on strike, effective Thursday.
The teachers had filed a intent to strike notice earlier this month, but Oct. 1 was the earliest they could walk off the job.
Union officials said they could not share anything pertaining to a several hour meeting that took place at the District 189 board building before they came to vote on whether to go on strike or not.
“We took the district’s tentative agreement to the members and they voted it down overwhelmingly,” said Union President Sharon Crockett, who said the district said it was the best and final offer. “They presented to us their last and final offer and the union body overwhelmingly rejected it” she said.
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She is still optimistic that the two sides can get back to the table and settle their differences. Crockett did not know when the union would meet with District 189 officials again.
District 189 Superintendent Arthur Culver said he had heard about the union’s decison to strike and was “disappointed and surprised because the union negotiation committee and the union executive committee met with the district committee and we came up with a tentative agreement. They said they would recommend it to its members. They signed the tentative agreement because they felt it was fair and equitable.”
Culver said the tentative agreement, a question and answer document, a cost summary and background information people need to know will all be posted on the district’s website (www.estl189.com) Wednesday.
“We will also post a letter to residents and community stake holders,” he said.
“I appreciate the valuable contributions of the teachers and the support staff that are in the bargaining unit. However, I must be mindful of the district’s obligations to its residents, community stake holders and taxpayers,” Culver said.