QPS union votes on next step for contract negotiation - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

QPS union votes on next step for contract negotiation

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Union members gather for a meeting on how contract negotiations have progressed. Union members gather for a meeting on how contract negotiations have progressed.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Contract negotiations between the Quincy Public School district and its employees appears to be at a standstill. After nearly five months of contract discussions, Quincy Federation Union members met to figure out what's next. 

"We are updating them on the contract negotiations, how they're going so far,' Teacher Subgroup Co-President Jen Drew. "We're also holding a vote on how they'd like us to proceed."

That vote includes opening the door to striking. Drew says it's because of a number of issues.

"I would say salary and benefits, but we also have several language items in the contract that are holding us up as well," Drew explained.

According to the union, Quincy ranks second to last in salaries for teachers compared to schools of similar sizes and low for bus drivers and custodians. Superintendent Roy Webb knows it's tough on staff.

"In Adams County teachers are underpaid," Webb said. "We want to give them a competative salary and we want to do that over time."

State law requires the sides to meet with a mediator at least once before a strike can begin. While they're planning to meet with a mediator for the fifth time, Webb does feel like it's helped. 

"She's brought in some ideas on language proposals," Webb explained. "We've worked on a lot of language and came to an agreement on a lot of different things."

If teachers file the intent to strike, it would be at least another 30 days before teachers could actually walk off the job according to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. Both sides hope it doesn't come to that.

"I have great respects for both sides," Webb added. "I have great respect for the teams they represent. Everybody's working hard and that's what we need to continue to do."

"We're hoping to make some more big progress this week, but you have to keep all your doors open," Drew said.

Union officials say the two sides will meet again next Thursday December 8th to see they can make any further progress.

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