'...the radicals were removed from the bargaining table and an agreement was reached...' Hinsdale High School teachers union wins contract with a reminder that low voter turnout can put fanatics on your elected school board

Waukegan teachers are still on strike as I write this, but high school teachers in Hinsdale were able to win a contract without a strike after they organized community support and pushed three school board members who are opposed to collective bargaining to the side. As the analysis below by Fred Klonsky shows, when a town gets an elected school board, voters have to turn out for the voting and be careful about who gets elected. Before the Hinsdale teachers mobilized a minority of the members of their Board of Education was advertising for scabs and becoming darlings of the right wing and Tea Party by "holding out" against the union.


The Hinsdale community finally had enough of the Tea Party and demanded the board bargain in good faith.

Yesterday the board of education in Chicago suburban District 86 approved a tentative agreement with the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association (an IEA/NEA affiliate) by a 4-3 vote.

The board vote to approve the two-year deal followed, as is protocol, the vote of the HHSTA members to ratify last week.

From the HHSTA:

HHSTA at on Facebook at and on Twitter at

October 17, 2014 - Hinsdale, IL The District 86 School Board voted to approve the tentative agreement reached with the teachers last week.

John Bowman, president of the teachers association, was not surprised that the board approved the contract. The school board met many of their goals in this negotiation, including pension reforms, reduced health-care costs, and structural changes to the salary schedule.

The boards approval marks the end of the most contentious negotiation in my memory, said Jeff Waterman, chief negotiator for the teachers.

The school board voted 4-3 to approve the contract. Mr. Kuhn, Ms. Gallo, Ms. Planson and Mr. Casini voted to approve.

Each year there are difficult negotiations in Illinois. Usually they concern salary and health care costs.

What is unique about Hinsdale is that the issue became the right to collective bargaining, the right to have a union contract and the union itself.

That is because a low turnout election put radical right-wing extremists on the Hinsdale board.

The goal of these extremists was not to bargain and reach agreement through negotiations.

The goal was to destroy the teachers union and collective bargaining.

It took some time, but eventually the community saw through the Tea Party smoke screen. They demanded genuine bargaining.

Following a board meeting a few weeks ago in which over a thousand people showed up, the radicals were removed from the bargaining table and an agreement was reached.

You can bet that when the next election for school board in Hinsdale, people will be paying closer attention.

We should all learn that lesson.


October 22, 2014 at 8:36 PM

By: Jim Vail

tea party

Well I guess the tea party and Obama and other dems have something in common - kill the unions.

October 27, 2014 at 2:55 PM

By: Joan Staples

Hinsdale Contract

I taught in Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills long ago (1956-62)and it was a good school system. I found administrators responsive to educational needs, but the Board didn't realize the extra expenses I had as a Reading Coordinator, visiting 8 schools, with no car (I don't drive). However, the point of this article was the possibility that elections will lead to Board members who are unfriendly to teachers and students. If Chicago ever gets an elected Board, I believe that there would be a lot of interest in constructive candidates, because of the current community organizing done by the CTU and others. Let's try it! At least the communities might find more response from the school hierarchy. The Mayoral dictatorship has not worked. It's almost 20 years old -- and getting worse.

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