D228-JFA members votes overwhelmingly to authorize a strike

D228-JFA members votes overwhelmingly to authorize a strike

The members of the Bremen High School District 228 Joint Faculty Association tallied their votes on Thursday. The members of D228-JFA voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. The strike was authorized for the rights of the students, according to the association. Greg Fitch, the president of D228-JFA, said, “This is about our students. Recently course sections have been cut and class sizes have been increased.”

Fitch added that the parents would be alarmed to hear this and the students were severely harmed. The administrators of District 228 have lost their focus and the association wants to change their focus, Fitch said. The association has been negotiating with the Board of Education (BOE) of Bremen Community High School District 228 since the end month of the last year. The association members are working without a contract since Jul. 31.

There are four schools in District 228 including Bremen High School, Hillcrest High School, Oak Forest High School, and Tinley Park High School. There are more than 5000 students who study in these high schools. There are 353 members in the D228-JFA. The members are teachers, nurses, counselors, social workers, and pathologists. Fitch said, “We have been negotiating for 10 months.” The association needs to take the steps for getting the best for the students, according to him.

The keep issues at the negotiation table are competitive compensation and health insurance. The starting salaries of the teachers in District 228 are least as compared to 15 other high school districts in the area. The proposal of the association includes a 3.6% rise in salaries per year for the next five years. The board is asking for more health insurance premiums for the health safety of the families of the teachers. The teachers are already paying high health insurance premiums as compared to other districts.

A federal mediator is working with the BOE and D228-JFA for finding common ground. Both parties will enter into the fourth mediation session on Oct. 9, 2019. A rally has been organized before mediation in which the members of the association, students, and community members will participate.

Staff writer for the Chicago Morning Star

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