By Ashleigh Costello
GENEVA, Ill. – Geneva School District 304 resumed classes Monday after the teachers union agreed to a tentative contract deal hours before a scheduled strike.
The Geneva Education Association and the Geneva Board of Education agreed to a tentative three-year contract at 12:30 a.m. Monday morning. The union had previously filed a notice of intent to strike on Oct. 26.
The union is set to vote on ratifying the deal Wednesday.
Details of the new contract have not been released, but news reports indicate salary was among the sticking points during negotiations. We have no doubt that the union used the threat of abandoning students to secure the pay raises it had in mind.
The deal comes in the wake of news that the GEA filed an unfair labor practices charge against the district over the weekend.
The union issued a statement Saturday alleging the board was attempting to coerce teachers from going on strike by mandating that teachers pay full health and dental insurance premiums for every day of a work stoppage, reports the Geneva Patch.
“The letter represented an attempt to coerce and intimidate teachers into not exercising their lawful rights,” according to the press release.
The claim is ironic since a strike is the union’s main way of coercing and intimidating the school board. Illinois teachers have a legal right to strike, but nowhere does is say the district, and taxpayers, must bear the financial brunt of that strike. How do people who refuse to work deserve benefits? The union calling the board coercive is like the pot calling the kettle black.
Terms of the new contract will be made public upon ratification of both parties.