Naperville Unit Education Association members voted to approve a new contract with Naperville School District 203, leaving final approval up to the district’s school board. The board is expected to vote on whether to approve the contract at a September 7 board meeting. The contract will not take effect until it gets that final approval.
Moving Forward With The New Contract
About 86% of the union’s 1400+ strong membership voted to approve the new contract, according to NUEA President Dan Iverson. He said the union couldn’t share information on the agreement until after the September 7 meeting.
The union said in a statement Wednesday it is hopeful the board will approve the agreement, but will reveal its next steps on its website if the agreement is not approved. “This has been something that’s been a long time coming, probably longer than anyone, no matter who you were, wanted it to go,” Iverson said. “So obviously, the idea that we’re on the verge of having a contract that will point us into the future a little bit is satisfying.”
The NUEA vote to ratify the new multi-year contract comes after it reached a tentative agreement with the district on August 23. The two sides have been negotiating since January, and have been assisted by a mediator at times to reach an agreement.
The union voted August 11 to authorize a strike if an agreement was not reached, but the August 23 agreement prevented that from materializing.
The two main points of contention that prevented an agreement had to do with salary and parental leave. The NUEA said in its August 11 announcement it asked that “members be allowed to use their accumulated sick days for the full 12 weeks to which they are entitled under the Family and Medical Leave Act.”
The district’s current contract allows teachers to use sick days to cover the first six weeks of parental leave, and not the remaining six weeks.
Regarding salary, the union said in the same announcement it wants “an appropriate and affordable salary increase in response to the district’s continued implementation of a premium learning service.”
The union said the new premium learning service requires added responsibilities for teachers in supervising, planning, instructing, and assessing. They argued teachers should be compensated for the increased workload. “We’re not quite done with the process yet, but I think we’re very close, and it feels good,” Iverson said.
“We thank everyone for their hard work and dedication to this process,” the district said in a joint statement August 23.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Flanagan reports.
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