PINCKNEYVILLE, IL (KFVS) - On Thursday, Feb. 26, the Pinckneyville Elementary Education Association (PEEA) officially notified the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) of the teachers' intent to strike if no employment agreement is reached in upcoming negotiation sessions.
The 30 teachers in the school district authorized the negotiation team with the ability to file an "Intent to Strike" in November 2016, but said they felt it was their responsibility to continue to meet with the board in order to discuss a fair and reasonable contract.
School district negotiations started in March of 2016. Since then, the sides have met 12 times. The last four sessions have been conducted with the assistance of a federal mediator.
The teachers involved say they are being forced to respond to a school board and attorney who have worked for the last 10 months to undermine the language of the contract by reducing teacher pay and benefits, elements that have been negotiated over many years.
The teachers say they fully understand the importance of fiscal responsibility. Currently, the school district is at the highest category of financial strength, holding "Recognition" status with the Illinois State Board of Education.
According to the teachers, demanding they take cuts in salary and pay more for their health care is unfair and unnecessary.
The PEEA has delayed pursuing a strike action in order to give the process additional time. Two additional negotiation sessions are scheduled at this time.
The filing of an intent to strike notice is a legal requirement that must be completed prior to school employee engagement in a lawful strike.
No strike date has been set at this time.