PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — On Thursday night, the Peoria Federation of Teachers union passed the vote to authorize a strike.
This does not mean the union will strike, but it allows them to. The union must give the Peoria Public School board a ten day notice if they choose to strike.
99.3% of the union voted to pass the strike authorization.
“That number tells me that we need to listen to our teachers and we need to really come to the table and get a deal done,” said Board Member Gregory Wilson.
Although many teachers said they do not want to strike, they’re asking for changes to their contract.
But if they do end up striking, will the students have a place to go when parents are gone for the day?
“We have three vans that we’re willing to use to put to good use and go and pick up kids in the neighborhood or wherever. We’ve got drivers ready for those vans,” said Dr. Dawn Harris Jeffries, CEO and president of the Tri-County Urban League.
Harris Jeffries said if the time comes, they have the resources to help the students and teachers out.
“We are ready to give them programing. We are ready to give them gaming curriculum that is in tune with the education standards,” said Harris Jeffries. “We are ready to provide mentoring programs. We are ready to feed them.”
Harris Jeffries said the Urban League has curriculums designed for children of all ages. They also have clothing available for students who may need it.
The Urban League is open from eight in the morning to eight at night.
The Peoria Park District may also be able to help. Emily Cahill, executive director for the park district, said in a statement: “Our parks and facilities will certainly be ready to support students and families as we are able.”
She said this is pending labor shortages and balancing new programs, but they hope to help if the time comes.
Gregory Wilson said whether the union decides to strike or not, the teachers deserve what they’re asking for.
“Our teachers are American heroes. They deserve to actually be heard. And that’s what they’re looking for right now. They want to be heard. And we need to listen to them. We must ensure that our teachers are fully taken care of so that they can fully take care of our students,” said Wilson.
According to a statement sent out by Peoria Public School Board President Martha Ross, the teacher’s union legally cannot strike until mid-October.
There is another federal mediation meeting to negotiate a new contract for the teachers in the union on Sept. 7.