CHICAGO (CBS) — A teachers’ strike in north suburban Waukegan dragged into its second week on Thursday, and teachers were complaining about what the district did once the strike began.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, when teachers for Waukegan Community Unit School District 60 walked off the job one week ago, the district stopped paying their insurance premiums. The district gave teachers the option of continuing their coverage by paying 100 percent of their own premiums.
“The district is, I think, playing mean; being mean ball to the teachers. We have a lot of teachers who are ill, and a lot of teachers who have serious conditions, and can’t even afford their medications or go for treatment,” teacher Dina Kessler said.
Kessler said it’s too expensive for teachers to pay their premiums alone, and the only other option is to pay for medical care as they go.
“I had to go to the doctor, and I didn’t have insurance to go to the doctor with,” she said. “I had no choice. I had to go. I had to pay out of pocket.”
District 60 chief negotiator Tony Ficarelli said teachers were warned of the consequences of going on strike before they walked off the job.
“It’s an unfortunate circumstance,” he said. “Certainly, school districts do not relish this aspect to a strike, but my response to that is the union chose to go out on strike prematurely.”
The two sides were meeting Thursday morning to continue negotiations.