Finger-Pointing as Mediation Between Teachers & Board Suspends
On April 26, the Teacher's Union of Burr Ridge Illinois and the District 180 School Board met in mediation for the fifth time over new teacher contracts. This was to be the last mediation between the two parties. Accusations are flying by both sides about who is to blame for this breakdown in communication.
Mediation Services Suspension According to School Board
According to Superintendent Tom Schneider, the reason the mediations broke down was that the Teacher's Union changed their minds and rejected previously agreed upon items. He claims that the Board dropped the only concern that they had in the proceedings, and that they still rejected their offer without presenting a counter-offer. In short, he claims that the Teacher Union leaders were not interested in reaching a mutually agreeable settlement.
The Civil Mediation Breakdown According to the Teachers
The representatives of the Teacher's Union claim that Dr. Tom Schneider simply stopped negotiating and walked out of the mediation. They further claimed that 94 percent of their members believed, according to a vote, that they did not have any confidence that Dr. Schneider would be able to settle the contract. They further state that these “previously agreed upon” items had not, in fact, been agreed upon.
Soon after the suspension of the mediation, the school board had issued a media announcement with their accusation against the Teacher's Union, blaming them for the breakdown in the bargaining. Representatives of the teacher's union were stunned to see this statement being released as early as it was. They further implied that the Superintendent must have been preparing that speech while the mediation itself was occurring, if not before. They mentioned further that their representation did not have time to make it home and answer questions about the suspension before this statement was made.