Waukegan Public Schools remain closed Wednesday. The two sides are expected to meet again with a federal mediator today at noon.
"The sides exchanged a number of counter proposals during today’s session, and also held a series of sidebars related to salary, benefits and contract duration," the district said in a statement Tuesday on its website. "Although positive dialogue did occur through sidebars, the two sides remain at odds on financial items, including salary increases."
Waukegan Teachers' Council President Kathy Schwarz issued the following statement after talks ended Tuesday evening:
Two hours into negotiations today, the district’s attorney, Anthony Ficarelli, said to us, ‘Maybe today’s not the day to break up the log jam.’ This made it clear that their side was not serious about making a deal. We come to the table every day with the intent to stay all night until we have an agreement.
The district administration is throwing every delay tactic in the book at us. It’s insulting to teachers, but more importantly it’s insulting to Waukegan’s families. Tonight, the district’s team walked away from the table at 10:13 p.m. We offered them a marathon session.
We’re teachers. We know how to improvise. We come up with creative solutions on the fly.
One suggestion we have for the district representatives is to wear comfortable clothes tomorrow. There’s no sense in wearing a suit when you should be rolling up your sleeves and working towards a deal.
The district is taking extended meal breaks. Tomorrow, we’re bringing loaves of bread, peanut butter, and jelly. We’ll share. We can eat while we work.
The district continuously takes breaks to consult with the board. I’ve bought used cars before and I understand this tactic – they have to go back to the manager to see if they can make a deal. Then they come back and blame the manager for not making a deal. We propose a solution. Send members of the Board of Education to the negotiating table. We’ll share our sandwiches with them, too.
Teachers in the district have been on strike since October 2. Read more about the work stoppage here.