MOLINE, Illinois — Teachers and staffers at Black Hawk College could walk off the job by April 1, 2018, following a union vote on an intent to strike that passed with overwhelming support.
“There’s not a single member, quite frankly, who wants to go through this process,” said Acie Earl, a business instructor and union spokesman. “It’s a situation where if we could do anything to avoid it, we would.”
Contract talks recently reached an impasse after nearly a year of negotiations. The main sticking points include salary and insurance issues.
“We’re still in discussions,” said Black Hawk College Interim President John Erwin. “We’re hopeful for a positive resolution.”
The intent to strike does not mean the faculty will strike, but it gives a 10-day notice before a strike could occur. The campus will be on spring break through March 17.
“The ball is really in the board’s court at this time,” Earl continued. “We’re prepared to come to the table. We always have been, to negotiate, and we’re willing to do that yet. But in the end, it’s going to take two to come to the table and negotiate.”
The dispute involves about 165 positions at the Moline and Kewanee campuses. They’ve been working without a contract for about eight months.
“It’s not something that’s desirable from anybody’s perspective,” Earl concluded. “It’s not good for the students, instructors, community, not good for the college reputation. There is no positive to being here, and yet we find ourselves literally pushed to the edge.”