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District 113A, teacher's union making progress on contract negotiations

Published: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 10:39 a.m. CDT

LEMONT – Representatives from Lemont-Bromberek Combined School District 113A and the Lemont-Bromberek Council of American Federation of Teachers Local 604 see positive signs in the ongoing teacher contract negotiations.

"We continue to meet and continue to make progress," said Superintendent Susan Birkenmaier.

The district's previous teacher contract expired at the end of June. The teachers have continued to work under the conditions of the previous contract since then.

Union President Michelle Nevin said working without a contract is not unusual and the ongoing negotiations have not distracted the teachers from their job.

"We continue to teach our students," she said.

Birkenmaier said meetings between the two groups have been more frequent recently, which is a good sign.

"Throughout the process, both teams have committed time to a very thoughtful process of understanding each other's needs and building together a very strong, positive future for District 113A," Birkenmaier said.

A negotiation session was held on Sept. 11, followed by negotiations between smaller groups on Sept. 16.

The board discussed negotiations during the closed session of its Sept. 18 meeting as well.

Board of Education President Cindy Kelly said the two sides have been involved in interest-based bargaining, which has allowed more open discussion of the issues, rather than each side making its own proposal.

"We are nearing the end," Kelly said. "We're hoping we'll know within the next week or two what is going on."

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