Union to vote on 'new information' tied to contract agreement

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 13, 2017 10:55 pm Updated: Nov. 14, 2017 8:21 am

QUINCY -- The Quincy Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Personnel will vote Tuesday night on "new information" tied to an agreement that could avert a planned strike.

QF and the Quincy School Board met for more than four and a half hours Monday night, and both sides say progress was made.

"It's not a tentative agreement," QF Co-president Jen Drew said. "We have information that we're going to share with our members, and we'll see if we've made enough progress and where we go from here."

The talks -- done without involving a federal mediator -- covered "language, insurance and benefits, a little bit of everything," Drew said.

"We've made some ground," School Board President Sayeed Ali said. "We'll see what the union has to say."

QF will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Machinists Hall. Drew expects to share results of the vote Wednesday.

"After the votes are tallied, I'll be giving a call to Sayeed and (Superintendent) Roy (Webb), and we'll move forward from there," she said. "If we need to have further meetings, that will be something we'll decide on Wednesday."

Neither side shared specific details about the closed-door talks, which Ali characterized as "open" conversation.

"It helps with both sides working together," he said. "The board absolutely doesn't want to work against our team members. We want to work with them. We've accomplished a lot of great things here in the past two years, and we want to keep that going."

Whether enough progress has been made to prevent the first strike in the district since 1989 was not clear.

"We'll have to wait and see what the membership says," Drew said. "Hopefully we're just going to keep thinking outside the box and find ways to work together to benefit the employees and the children of Quincy."

Monday's meeting was the first since Oct. 16. QF rejected a final contract offer two days later and voted to file notice of its intent to strike.

Compensation and insurance have been stumbling blocks in reaching a new agreement, which must be approved by all seven subgroups of the union.

The union seeks a two-year deal with a salary increase of 2.4 percent the first year and 2 percent the second year. The second year is about $150,000 more than the board proposed, and the cost for both years is $1.301 million, information field with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board showed.

The board's offer has not changed from the original three-year deal offering a 2.4 percent increase the first year, 1.5 percent the second year and 1.7 percent the third year, or about $2.3 million in raises overall, according to information filed with the Educational Labor Relations Board.

The board also agreed to pay $7.983 million of the projected $9.671 million total cost of health insurance premiums for union members in 2017-18.

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