East Moline teachers accept new contract, avoid strike

EAST MOLINE, Illinois -- Teachers in East Moline have voted to accept a new contract, averting a possible strike.

On Thursday, February 16, 2017, members of the East Moline Education Association gathered at the UAW Richard Shoemaker Hall to ratify the contract.

The EMEA represents more than 260 teachers, paraprofessionals, and secretaries.

Roughly 80 percent of union members voted in favor of the new, two-year contract. Teachers will receive a 1.25 percent raise to the base each year, plus step movement. Paraprofessionals and secretaries will receive a $0.75 cent an hour increase, plus step movement in each year of the agreement.

"It's definitely been tough, I mean, I've been in the district for 23 years, and it's never come to this. So we're very happy that we were able to do this tonight and that it passed, and that we can move forward and get back to what's most important and focus on the kids," said Angela Harrell, a seventh grade language arts teacher.

During last-minute negotiations on Wednesday evening, the school board and teachers' union reached a tentative agreement.

The deal comes after months of back-and-forth between the district and union, including negotiations with a federal mediator.

East Moline teachers had been without a contract since June 2016.