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Evergreen Park Teachers Strike Enters Second Week As Negotiations Fail To Produce A Deal

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The teachers strike in Evergreen Park continues, as Monday’s nine-hour negotiating session that adjourned at 12:30 a.m. failed to produce a deal, WLS-TV reports. Four District 124 school board members are unable to meet on Tuesday, which means talks will not resume until Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m., thus prolonging the strike for at least a couple more days.

"It's very frustrating, very frustrating," Illinois Federation of Teachers spokesman David Comerford told the station after discussions concluded for the night. "There's no negotiating that happened this evening. What is this about? How do we reach a settlement like this? You don't.”

Comerford told the Chicago Sun-Times Monday’s meeting never addressed financial issues like pay and insurance benefits, the strike’s major sticking points.

School Board President Kathy Rohan tells the Sun-Times that the union has not responded to the board's salary deal offered during Sunday’s bargaining session.

Last Wednesday’s meeting reportedly turned heated, leaving union members feeling disrespected by the district and calling for a federal mediator to oversee negotiations. CBS Chicago reports that a mediator has since been exchanging proposals between the two sides, eliminating face-to-face bargaining. The strike began last Tuesday, Oct. 2, -- yesterday’s meeting marked the fifth negotiation session and the fourth with a mediator present.

Earlier Monday evening, some members of the teachers union hosted a community forum that attracted dozens of frustrated parents. District representatives did not attend the forum, citing the ongoing talks.

According to WLS-TV, some Evergreen Park teachers are expected to walk picket lines again Tuesday, joined by Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez.

The local teachers union represents 135 teachers and 70 support staff at the district’s four elementary schools and one junior high school -- a total of 1,800 students.

The Sun-Times reports union co-president Mariellen Newquist said that if there is no tentative agreement by Thursday, the union has arranged for Jacob’s Well Church Community’s Kids Club to provide daily educational activities for District 124 students that will be overseen by striking teachers.

The Evergreen Park strike comes on the heels of the Chicago and Lake Forest strikes, which endured for a week-and-a-half and seven days, respectively.

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