Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

March 19, 2014

Teachers, board to meet before strike

Educators seek last-minute agreement

TEUTOPOLIS — In a last-ditch effort to avoid a strike, the Teutopolis Unit 50 Board of Education is meeting with representatives of the Teutopolis Education Association teachers union at 6 p.m. today.

Because tonight's meeting concerns collective bargaining, it is not open to the public under conditions of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

TEA Co-President Amy Oseland said she was "very hopeful" that the meeting would bear fruit. TEA members announced Monday they would begin a strike Friday if a tentative agreement is not reached.

Oseland said the hope remains that a strike can be avoided.

"We would like to have a tentative agreement Thursday night," she said. "We are very excited and hopeful that something good will come out of this meeting."

Oseland would not say how much progress had to be made to avoid a strike — without a tentative agreement.

Federal mediator Barbara Rumph, who has met with the opposing sides twice since the teachers' contract expired last August, is expected to be on hand for tonight's meeting.

Board President Marty Siemer said the fact there is a meeting gives the board hope.

"I think there's always hope until it (a strike) happens," Siemer said. "We just have to keep working through it until we come up with a solution."

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com, or via Twitter @EDNBGrimes

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