Proviso teachers go on strike, demanding fair contract

Classrooms were empty and teachers were on the picket line Friday morning in Proviso District 209.

Nearly 300 teachers planned to take part in pickets at Proviso West, Proviso East and Proviso Math and Science Academy as they fight for a new contract.

District 209 School Board President Rodney Alexander said in a statement that "We are really disappointed that our educators are again contemplating this potential disruption to teaching and learning."

Alexander said he thought the two sides had made progress last Tuesday when the district increased the salary offer from 7% to 9% over three years.


Alexander said the teachers want 13.25 % over three years and that is not "in the best fiscal interest of our parents and other local resident taxpayers."

"They moved backwards and increased their salary demands by more than $300,000," he said.

Teachers said the strike is about more than money.

Carissa Gillespie has taught at Proviso West for 20 years. She said enough is enough.

"They disrespected us in pay, they disrespected us in their rhetoric, they've disrespected us in their lies. I'm a teacher that lives in this district. I pay my taxes in this district. I'm passionate about this district and I want them to be passionate about this district and the students as well," Gillespie said.

Teachers plan to rally outside District 209 offices at Proviso Math and Science Academy from 1-3:30 p.m. Friday.

The next scheduled negotiations with a mediator are slated for Monday and Wednesday.

Students are off Monday for the Casimir Pulaski holiday.