Another day passes with little to no progress in negotiations between the Rockford school district and striking clerical workers. And as the workers walk the picket line, fighting for better wages and benefits, they're giving up their paychecks which is putting a strain on them and their families.
For sixteen years, Kristy Ostergard has worked in the clerical field for the Rockford school district. This week's paycheck could be her last for quite a while. Kristy and her fellow clerical workers have been walking the picket line for just three days, but it's already making a big dent in many of their wallets.
"People term our jobs as ‘oh these are just jobs for moms.’ Well, God bless moms, they've got enough to do already. But their not jobs for moms, they're not second income jobs, these are our livelihoods. If any of us could afford to strike, we wouldn’t be working," Ostergard says.
Because the clerical union has so few members, just 172, the union cannot offer any financial help to these striking workers, many who are single mothers already struggling to make ends meet.
"We're kind of a bare bones union. So we don't get any benefits that way either. So, we're just broke. We have no pay coming in now basically," states Ostergard.
Ostergard also says the workers not only want to get back to work to pay their bills, they want to help the students they provide vital services to. School district officials say Rockford schools are operating like normal and they also hope to reach an agreement with the clerical workers soon.