East St. Louis teachers could strike if contract settlement not reached soon

East St. Louis teachers are one step closer to walking off the job after their latest round of contract mediation talks with administrators failed.

Members of Illinois Federation of Teachers Local 1220 said educators have voted unanimously to authorize a strike if mediation failed.

“We have been without a contract for more than a year now, but we continued to work every day of that year while negotiating with the district for an agreement that is fair to teachers, support staff, students, and parents,” Sharon Crockett, president of the East St. Louis Federation of Teachers, Local 1220 said. “We hoped the Board would begin taking negotiations seriously now that we are working with a federal mediator, but tonight we saw no movement on their part. If they force our hand, we may need to strike as a last resort. This will be the first strike in more than 10 years.”

Administrators have complained that negotiations are complicated by state financial oversight which limits the district’s financial flexibility.

Teachers and administrators are scheduled to meet again Sept. 10.