Quincy Public School union members vote to file intent to strike
Quincy Public School Union members vote to file an intent to strike, Thursday. That means more than 850 district employees could walk off the job by mid-November.
These results come after more than 12 negotiating sessions since July. This is the second time in 10 months the district has faced a massive employee strike.
QPS Superintendent Roy Webb tells KHQA if teachers strike in 28 days, the district will immediately cease operations.
"Two thirds of our members voted to go ahead with the intent to strike," Quincy Federation President Jen Drew said.
Quincy Federation President Jen Drew didn't waste time Thursday releasing results of the union's vote to strike.
"Of course, I'm frustrated that we haven't been able to get a contract at this time and disappointed," Drew explained. "I'm not surprised by the vote."
Drew added five of the union's seven sub groups voted to reject the latest offer from the Quincy Public School District. That means the union will file an intent to strike with the state of Illinois.
"Mr. Webb has expressed that he wants to keep working during that time. We will keep working," Drew said.
"We're doing everything we can to continue to trend in the right direction for the community," QPS Board President Sayeed Ali told KHQA live on air. "We will continue doing that. Sometimes there are limitations to what we can do."
The sticking points? Salary and insurance premiums. Both sides have been meeting more than a month and a half with a state mediator.
Ali said Quincy Public schools is projecting a 850-thousand deficit this year. That's after last years $600,000 deficit and $1.3 million deficit after the 2015-16 school year.
"A lot of things you can control but how many dollars we receive is something we can't control," Ali shared.
Ali added QPS is trying to help as many employees as possible through the contract negotiations.
"We will continue to pay the vast majority of all of our employees health insurance premiums," Ali stated.
Meanwhile, Drew said union employees want the best for children, but ask one thing from the public.
"We want the communities to support us. We are just trying to get a living wage for our members."
Drew tells KHQA the intent to strike will be filed Friday. That's when 28 day countdown to the earliest time the strike could begin.
It's important to note this will not impact current QPS construction projects, only education operations will cease.