UPDATE: PPS teachers authorize union to give strike notice

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 5:57 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2022 at 6:02 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - Teachers in the Peoria Public Schools have overwhelming authorized their union leaders to issue a notice to strike, aiming to persuade District 150 to meet the union’s salary demands.

According to Peoria Federation of Teachers Local 780′s Facebook page, the vote at Woodruff Career and Technical Center was 736 in favor and 7 opposed. However, the action does not mean a strike is imminent.

The union and administration have negotiated for months, before bringing in a federal mediator to assist in the process. That is generally a signal both sides are committed to negotiating a deal. The union says pay is still one of the main sticking points. But the exact matters keeping them from an agreement are still unclear.

A successful strike authorization gives union negotiators permission to give district administration a 10-day notice of their intent to strike. But that is not necessarily imminent.

“Quite frankly, just the vote in and of itself...if the strike is authorized by union membership, that alone can be a sufficient strategy or bargaining strength.” Peoria area attorney Rob Hanauer said.

PPS board president Martha Ross said in a statement that the board will be fully transparent about the negotiations.

“If we have not reached an agreement by the middle of September, we will publish the exact offer we’ve made to the Union in specific detail so you can judge its fairness for yourselves, " she said.

Previously, Ross said the board’s last proposal to the union calls for a salary increase among the highest in the state and the Union’s talk of a strike is premature and an irresponsible effort to mislead the public and its own members about what the Board is offering.

Union leadership has said they don’t want to go down this path, but they are prepared to do so.

The next federal mediated bargaining session is next week, September 7. Teachers continue to work under terms of the previous contract.

This story will be updated.