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‘Impasse’ in vocabulary at D-158

HUNTLEY – District 158 teachers are discussing declaring a formal impasse in contract talks with the district, but the union president said a decision is not imminent.

Declaring an impasse would be the last procedural move for the Huntley Education Association to go on strike. HEA’s 600-plus members authorized the union to call a strike last month.

But HEA co-President Julie McLaughlin downplayed talk of declaring an impasse – an option that is open to the school board, as well – saying that any union has to start discussing the option when negotiations reach the mediation phase.

A third-party mediator has been presiding over negotiations at the district since late September.

“We have to weigh all of our options,” McLaughlin said.

The teachers union in District 300 in neighboring Carpentersville declared a formal impasse in its negotiations this week. Its 1,300 members can strike 28 days after the declaration. At issue there is class sizes and other differences.

When an impasse is declared – an option that school boards have, as well – state law requires both sides to turn over their final offers to a state education labor board, which can make the offers public.

In Huntley, McLaughlin said the HEA remains committed to bargaining and negotiating its differences with the board. The sides have a session set for Nov. 28, after both sides bickered this week about whether a meeting was booked for Tuesday.

Bargaining teams reached a tentative deal in early October, but the HEA membership rejected it. The two sides reportedly are at odds over salary schedules, but neither side has disclosed any details.

Don Drzal, the District 200 board’s vice president and lead negotiator, said the board will continue to negotiate with the union and an impasse declaration would “have to come strictly from the union.”

“I’m 100 percent confident we can reach something,” Drzal said. “The process has to play itself out. I don’t think anybody thought that we would meet once and agree on something.”

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