Metro-East News

East St. Louis District 189 and union fail to reach agreement again

Negotiators for District 189 and Union Local 1220 met from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday to try to hammer out an agreement the two sides could live with, but that didn’t happen.

There was no deal reached, and as a result there will be no school in District 189 on Wednesday, the 19th day of the strike.

Another negotiating session has been scheduled for noon Thursday.

The two sides appear to still be at odds over the 11-step salary schedule that Union Local 1220 wants. District officials say they can no longer afford it and they want to go to a 21-step schedule.

Sharon Crockett, president of Union Local 1220 said, “The district has the power and the money to end this strike, but again they refused to make the compromise necessary to get our students back in school.

“We told the district we would agree to a contract proposal that matched a concept they proposed for the first three years. They offered the concept of a four-year proposal with a stipend for the first two years, a 15-step schedule the third year and a 21-step schedule proposal the fourth year. In the spirit of a compromise, we said we would agree to everything but the fourth year,” Crockett said.

“It is clear that the strike isn’t about money. The union team agreed to exactly what the district team said it could afford in three years. There is no cost difference,” Crockett said.

Crockett accused Superintendent Arthur Culver and the district “of keeping the students out of school just to force a 21-step schedule on the union. This is totally despicable. The union even told the district they wanted to go over the numbers, but instead we found out they were busy sending out press releases. They should be ashamed.”

Culver said, “Unfortunately after meeting for 10 hours, the union rejected the district’s revised, last and best offer submitted on Friday worth over $5,951,000.” Culver said in the spirit of compromise and to satisfy the urgent need to resume the school year, “the district’s offer increased by approximately $940,000 from the tentative agreement reached by the district and the union on Sept. 29.

The district reiterates its request that the union present the offer to its full membership for a vote and an opportunity to end the strike.”

The offer and other documents can be found on the district’s website at www.estl189.com.

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