SIU Strike will cancel pre-K classes

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - A strike on the SIU campus would affect everyone from college kids down to pre-K kids.

Union and university administrators continue to negotiate, but no agreement has been reached so far.

The four SIU employee unions have set up a strike headquarters in the Bowen Gym at the old high school. They have their picket-line signs ready to go for next Thursday's tentative strike date.

Meantime, organizations tied to SIU are already preparing for the ripple effect of a possible strike. Southern Region Early Childhood Programs director Barbara Grace sent out a memo this week alerting parents that their kid's pre-K class will be canceled if there's a strike on campus.

"The teachers for those programs are part of NTT (Non-Tenure Track faculty Association)," said NTT spokesperson Kitty Martin. "Since the University oversees those programs, that's going to be affected."

Heartland News left messages on voicemail and with secretaries at the Southern Regional Early Childhood Program office for both Director Barbara Grace and Early Childhood Coordinator Dr. Cathy Mogharreban. Our calls were not returned so we were not able to learn how many children will be affected should the pre-K shutdown come to pass.

Grace's memo sent to parents states: "if there is a strike, our classrooms will close and home visits will be canceled. Days missed will be made up by August 31, 2012."

The memo, dated October 25, 2011 says the pre-K program has classrooms in schools throughout a four-county region.

According to the organization's website, the Southern Region Early Childhood Program operates pre-Kindergarten programs in public schools and community-based childcare centers, parental training programs and birth-to-three early intervention programs.

Non-tenure-track union officials say around 70 Southern Region Early Childhood Program employees are members of that union and will strike if no agreement is reached by November 3.

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