MURPHYSBORO — Murphysboro teachers could go on strike as early as Oct. 1 if a contract is not agreed upon before then.
According to a news release from the Illinois Education Association, the union representing teachers in Murphysboro School District 186 voted to authorize a strike if a deal is not made before the end of this month. The release said the authorization comes after a failure to reach a deal during recent negotiations in August, which involved a federal mediator.
The release said teachers have been working since the beginning of the school year without a contract — negotiations began in March. Murphysboro Education Association Vice President Melinda Pierson said in the release that teachers have taken several salary freezes.
“Over the last decade, our needs as teachers have taken a backseat to financial issues within the school district and the state. We’ve taken multiple salary freezes over the last 10 years. It’s time for the district to make things right,” Pierson said, according to the release.
The MEA represents 148 teachers in Murphysboro. The next negotiating session is scheduled for Sept. 26.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to properly reflect Melinda Pierson's title.