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Daily negotiations, please

Dixon teachers are on strike. Students aren’t being educated. Contract talks have transitioned from important to urgent. Negotiations should be held daily until an agreement is reached.

Published: Friday, March 1, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 10:52 a.m. CDT
(Alex T. Paschal/
Dixon teachers picket outside of the high school Thursday morning.

Well, it happened. The Dixon Education Association is on strike.

Dixon teachers manned picket lines Thursday. Dixon’s 2,781 students lost out on a day of education.

Contract talks were scheduled for Thursday, by agreement of the Dixon School Board and the teachers union.

But the next scheduled negotiating session is not until Monday.

Teachers say they are willing to negotiate today, Saturday or Sunday. Such a time frame apparently is not in the school board’s plans.

Our intention is not to take sides in this dispute. Obviously, the sooner it is resolved, the better.

Now that teachers have withheld their services to the school district and its students, finding a solution is an urgent matter.

It clearly is in the public’s interest to increase the pace of negotiating.

Talks have been ongoing, actually, for nearly a year, although negotiators largely took a break over the summer. The old contract ran out in August. Teachers have worked for half a year without a new contract. Pre-strike talks, held periodically, failed to generate a solution.

In hindsight, the slow pace of talks has not been beneficial.

Perhaps the negotiating stances haven’t helped, either.

Each side has asked the other to give up a lot. Such win-lose strategies seem not to be conducive to reaching agreements.

So now, daily negotiating meetings should be scheduled so that differences between teachers and the school board can be further discussed, ironed out and resolved.

The negotiations should be carried out in a spirit of compromise, professionalism and openness.

Remember, adults aren’t the only ones watching; 2,781 students are, too.


See video highlights from teacher interviews Thursday on the picket lines. Also check for updates today @DatelineDixon on Twitter.

We've put together a comprehensive resource page to help readers follow and track the negotiations.Click here to visit.

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