Rockford school officials informed the union representing paraprofessionals and food service workers the school board will terminate union contracts next month.
AFSCME Local 692 represents paraprofessionals in Rockford schools while AFSCME Local 3210 represents food service workers. According to a release from AFSCME, the unions represent nearly 640 members.
Starting pay for Rockford schools paraprofessionals is $9.53 an hour; food service workers start at $8.43.
"Union members want fair pay and respect, but the school board's extreme step to terminate our contract sends the opposite message," AFSCME staff representative Edward Sadlowski said.
District officials say the Rockford School Board issued notice to terminate its labor agreement with its paraprofessionals and nutrition service workers in mid June. According to a release from the district, that notice came after the bargaining units failed to respond to numerous requests to schedule bargaining sessions.
The district issued this statement on behalf of the administration:
“We value our employees and agree their work is paramount to running our schools and educating our children. We will continue to bargain in good faith. For this reason, the board has offered significant wage increases during the bargaining process, and it has proposed an employee wellness plan intended to help to keep employee premiums below the market in the region. Meanwhile, the union’s bargaining team has made no movement on any of its proposals.”