Black Hawk College students brace for possible strike impact

MOLINE -

As contract talks go down to the wire at Black Hawk College, students are caught in the middle.

The college faces a strike on Monday, April 2,  unless it can finalize a deal for some 165 teachers and staffers.

Accounting student Daisy Flores understands the teachers' plight, but she feels caught in the middle.

"It's kind of nerve-wracking that we might be behind, or we're going to miss out on certain material that's going to be crucial for the class," she said, on Thursday, March 29.

With just seven weeks remaining, students like Daisy could face finishing classes with replacement teachers.  A lengthy strike would lead to long-term problems, including graduation.

"I really wouldn't want them to go on strike," said student Claudia Lopez.  "It's kind of an inconvenience to me.  It's my education, and I pay to go here."

After three consecutive days of talks, teachers and staffers continue to work without a contract.  With salary the biggest hurdle, they plan to walk out without a deal.

The college is encouraging students to report on Monday, even if classes are staffed with replacements.

"I can't learn reading a text book," said Mubarak Abdelkarim.  "If I'm not there for the lecture, I feel like I'm missing out on a lot of important stuff."

As studies continued as normally as possible on Thursday, students are trying to stay positive.  Daisy Flores will return on Monday, strike or not.

"I'm so close to being done," she concluded.  "I don't want to have any setbacks or feel that I'm going to be pressured."