Day 8 with no contract agreement, Galesburg teacher says ‘we can’t just give up now’

Talks have ended on day eight of the Galesburg teacher strike and there’s still no deal.

The Galesburg Education Association and the school Board met Wednesday, August 20, 2014 to continue negotiations with a federal mediator after a marathon 14-hour session on Tuesday. Their Wednesday meeting ended around 3:35 p.m., with no agreement.

“It’s an issue that is not a money issue,” said Luan Statham, GEA negotiator. “It’s a language issue that does not cost the district any money, and that’s the only sticking point right now.”

Related: Galesburg parent holds picket against teacher strike

There were cheers and chants to lift spirits outside District 205 offices. Jenni Buonavolanto is on the picket line instead of teaching pre-school.

“We got everybody hyped up and going,” she said. “It kind of got a little happier for a while.”

That happiness is harder to come by each day that passes without a deal.

“I truly believe in what we’re doing,” said Huong Hua.

Outside Silas Willard School, where President Ronald Reagan once studied, you’ll find the 15-year teacher.

“This is our livelihood,” she said. “This is our paycheck. I’m a single mom with two girls. If I’m out here, it’s hard.”

It’s hard on second-year teacher Buonavolanto as well. Patience is tough to come by on the picket line.

“There’s a lot of supporters, but there’s also people that, I think, each day are getting more negative.”

The second community forum for parents was scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday evening at the Galesburg Public Library.

“We teach kids to talk things out,” Hua said. “I would hope both sides would talk things out and not get ugly.”

“At this point, we can’t just give up now,” Buonavolanto concluded.

There are no new talks scheduled and the federal mediator wont be available again until Tuesday, August 26.

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