Hours of negotiation, no deal in Evergreen Park teacher strike

October 8, 2012 (EVERGREEN PARK, Ill.)

The bargaining session Monday went on more than six hours, but a union representative said that should not provide much hope and that the two sides were not even meeting face to face. Instead, they were negotiating through emissaries and haggling over technicalities in the contract, not going over the big money issues. They are no closer to a deal.

A packed and partisan crowd met Monday night and was strongly supportive of Evergreen Park teachers.

Union leaders defended their stance against tying their pay to student test scores and a proposal they say rolls back their health and retirement benefits.

"The person that is responsible for educating my child, they should pay them! Pay them. They deserve it," said parent Nicole Outland.

Others, like parent Renae Smith-Ray, fear higher taxes.

"It's frustrating as a community member, because I feel that both sides are being unreasonable," said Smith-Ray.

Absent from tonight's meeting: Any representative of the school district.

"I just really am disappointed that the board is not here and that we can speak to the board, too, because the board represents us and they have the power over our tax dollars," said Evergreen Park resident Keith Hudson.

As of about 10 p.m. Monday, nearly two dozen parents and teachers remained outside the bargaining session, but a union representative said he was not optimistic about a deal any time soon.

Neither officials from the school board nor the superintendent have responded to ABC7's requests for comment.

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