Mediator Brought in To Assist North Shore School District 112 and Teachers Union Finalize a New Contract
A federal mediator has been called in to assist the North Shore School District 112 and its teachers union finalizes a contract. There are still several sticking points in the ongoing negotiations and both sides agreed that a third-party was needed to move forward. The decision to request a mediator came a few weeks before the current contract is due to expire on August 14th.
Teachers are scheduled to report for duty on August 15th and the new school year begins on the 19th. If the two sides were unable to reach an agreement before that date, the terms of the current contract would remain in effect until a new deal is approved.
According to Sheri Henkel, president of the North Short Education Association, “Both sides requested the federal mediator to come in at this point because little progress is being made around high-stakes issues.”
The two sides had been negotiating since March of this year and met seven times during that period. The joint statement issued by both sides expressed optimism and stated “there is no reason at this point to expect any delays to the beginning of the school year 2019-2020.
This is not the first time a federal mediator was needed to resolve contract negotiations in the district. The two prior negotiating cycles included assistance from a mediator and the 2012 negotiations resulted in a one-day strike during October of that year.
According to Bridget Shanahan, spokeswoman for the Illinois Education Association, once mediation begins, teachers have the option to authorize the negotiating team to call a strike. The union could then file an “intent to strike" notice with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.