“Positive movement” in Galesburg strike negotiations, but still no deal

After more than 14 hours of negotiations, there is still no deal between teachers and school board members in Galesburg, Illinois.

Representatives from the Galesburg Education Association and the Board of Education met with a federal mediator Tuesday for the first time since a strike began on Wednesday, August 13th. Contract talks lasted until early Wednesday morning, when both sides reached a stalemate around 12:30 a.m.

“We’ve been here for a lot of hours, and we had some movement, some positive movement, but we just couldn’t get the deal done tonight,” said Luan Statham, chief negotiator for the GEA.

Statham said talks were scheduled to resume Wednesday at 10 a.m. with the mediator.

“We’re frustrated right now. We had kinda hoped after all these hours to be done, but we’re still hoping for a contract and to settle this as soon as we can. We don’t wanna be out of the classroom any longer than we have to and don’t want the kids to be out of the classroom any longer than we have to,” said Statham. “We’re trying… that’s all we can do.”

Wednesday will mark the fifth day classes have been cancelled since the strike began. Union members will be holding a public meeting for parents who have questions about the strike. That starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Galesburg Public Library. There is also one planned for 6 p.m. Thursday at the First Lutheran Church Community Room. Both meetings will be cancelled if a deal is reached.

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