Grayslake District 46 Teachers, Support Staff Go On Strike Thursday

Bernie Tafoya
November 07, 2019 - 11:18 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Teachers and support staff are on strike Thursday in Grayslake District 46.

About 300 teachers and nearly 200 support staff have walked out Thursday over pay.

One Grayslake District 46 teacher walked with a homemade sign that has drawings of apples and a heart, reading "Apples and love won’t pay my mortgage or my Grayslake taxes."

Grayslake District 46 striking teacher
WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

Pay is the issue, according to teachers union president Michele Beye, and respect.

"The feeling that the staff gets is that when they figure out the budget for the year, that it's like okay we are going to do all these things, and then oh, okay here are some crumbs left, we will give that to the staff," she said. "They actually have $3 million more than they did two years ago when they said they were broke."

Beye also said the average teachers' pay is less than surrounding districts and many support staff don’t make anywhere near $15 an hour.

"We believe that people who work with our children deserve to live a middle class lifestyle with some buying power," she said.

More than 3,700 students did not have class Thursday because of the strike.

More contract talks are scheduled for Thursday night.

The district said it made a significant increase in its offer Tuesday. In January 2013, teachers in Grayslake District 46 were on strike for three days.

According to a teachers union representative, a federal mediator tried to do some informal shuttle diplomacy Wednesday to try to get the two sides to reach an agreement, but it did not work.

The Lake County Federation of Teachers said that although a four-year contract was agreed to two years ago, the pay issue was to be re-visited this year.