No contract agreement as QPS employee union announces strike dat - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

No contract agreement as QPS employee union announces strike date

Posted:
Lots of supporters for Quincy Federation came out to the Board of Education office before negotiations started. Lots of supporters for Quincy Federation came out to the Board of Education office before negotiations started.
Quincy Federation President Jen Drew said there were certain language issues in the previous contract. Quincy Federation President Jen Drew said there were certain language issues in the previous contract.
The QPS Board met early Tuesday morning to go over a new contract offer for the union. The QPS Board met early Tuesday morning to go over a new contract offer for the union.
A sign hung up showing the proposed time for contract negotiations A sign hung up showing the proposed time for contract negotiations
A rock at the Board of Education office sat on a table not far from where negotiations took place. A rock at the Board of Education office sat on a table not far from where negotiations took place.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Quincy Public School and the Quincy Federation officials walked away from over seven hours of negotiation without a contract agreement, and union officials announced the strike date - January 17.

The announcement came after after 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, following a marathon session of negotiations. Quincy Federation Teacher Subgroup President Jen Drew says with this strike, it will effectively shut down the district.

Officials say they tentatively agreed on all the language items for the contract, but could never reach an agreement on compensation. Drew says the union feels disappointed heading out of the final scheduled meeting.

"Disappointed in that we feel like what we're asking for is a fair wage for our employees," Drew said. "We feel like the numbers are correct and that they're able to offer us what we're asking for."

Board President Sayeed Ali says the sides took big steps forward, but not enough to make a deal happen.

"With the language items, those were some stumbling blocks and we're able to resolve all of those [Tuesday]," Ali said. "But like I said, we're unfortunately too far apart on compensation."

The board presented an offer to the union at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, which was drafted at a special board meeting that lasted under two hours that morning. The specifics haven't been revealed. 

Nearly 150 people showed up at the Board of Education office showing their support for the Quincy Federation union as they headed behind closed doors. . 

Superintendent Roy Webb said through the negotiations, a lot has been brought to light.

"Even though we knew this, it's highlighting that our teachers, and our staff are underpaid. And they're doing a nice job of communicating that," said Webb.

After the special board meeting Tuesday morning, Ali hoped a deal was near with the new offer on the table.  

"The last meeting we had with the union, I thought there was a lot of good open conversation, and it was definitely moving in a positive direction." Ali said. "So yeah, I hope we can pickup this evening where we left off last week."

Also following the special board meeting, Drew talked about language items still being an issue, like the removal of the "just cause" clause which mandates that employees cannot get fired unless just cause is shown.

"The board at this time was wanting to remove that from the contract, so they could be let go without a reason, and we are wanting to keep that in there to protect our members." Drew said.

The two sides have no scheduled meetings planned, but Drew explained the union and school board would continue to work behind the scenes to get a deal done.

"We want to have this disrupt the lives of the students as little as possible," Drew added.

The union held hard to getting the pay increase they feel is deserved adding some of their employees, like bus drivers and food service workers, don't make a living wage.

"As I've stated before we have several members who are living at the poverty line and we just can't let that continue," Drew said.'

The strike could also impact several non-profit agencies and union officials say they're working with those organizations to make sure students are taken care of because officials say the students are still "our number one priority." 

Powered by Frankly