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Concerns behind the D15 strike

Amber Domanus, Reporter

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       Driving past, workers are standing in front of a District 15 school with signs and bright yellow vests. People can read, “on strike for a fair settlement” but really don’t know what it’s all about just as many other people don’t. Numerous judge without knowing reasons behind this strike and others are just as uneducated but on the side of the workers.

       An agreement had been decided upon that all workers on strike were to return to work Monday Oct 30. This decision was made leaving the workers with no new contract and a shaky agreement. Workers who did not return on Monday were to be replaced immediately.

       “Many of our members are single mothers struggling to make ends meet,” employee of John G. Conyers Learning Academy and current striker Betsy Mensch said. “and I feel like the District is playing hardball with its most vulnerable employees.”

       The Education Support Personnel Association (ESPA) union called this strike and are fighting for healthcare benefits that a newly redefined employment contract would be taking away. They are also striking for a higher wage to stay ahead of current inflation. The District filed for and got an injunction from court that made 168 employees go back to working in the schools which significantly cut down their forces and willingness to negotiate. Most people have been supportive of the workers striking yet of course there are some who are concerned about public spending.

       “I have never seen a bargaining group take such extreme measures when both sides were actively working together to find an acceptable agreement. ” Superintendent of Schools Scott Thompson said.

       The administration felt that negotiations were in progress and they had further negotiations planned soon. Difficulties of scheduling attorneys and board members had been delaying a resolution. The district office had also been working hard to secure substitute nurses and secretaries among other positions absent during the strike. Many were hoping to soon come to a compromise and bring back these important members of our community.

       “I think it’s great the people are protesting and advocating for what they need and want,” parent of a District 15 student, Janina Lizak said. “but at the same time it is putting students with specific medical needs at risk.”

       Most want to support but are hesitant because of having reasonable concerns. When one has a child they are willing to keep them out of possible danger in any way possible. For these parents that rely on the nurses at school to care for their children with specific needs that must be met daily, it is scary to know that there won’t be those needed people there anymore.

      Parents were left wondering if their child was ok and wondering if their requirements were being met to keep them safe. These concerns of the needs of students along with the needs of the workers striking is why people are hoping to finally reach a reasonable agreement.

       

 

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Concerns behind the D15 strike