The battle is between the school district and members of the Education Office Personnel Association or EOPA.
Tuesday afternoon, members of EOPA gathered to address why the contract was rejected and what their next move will be. Currently 164 clerical workers continue to walk to picket line, eight have crossed the line and are back to work. EOPA representative Jeff Middleton says, "All we're asking for is what they've given other groups." But Rockford School District Communications Director counters with, "To say that they're not getting what other unions have is not true."
Jennings says Rockford's clerical workers rank on the high end of pay compared to other school districts. They also have lower health care costs then most including the confidential secretaries, who EOPA is working to become equal with. In December confidential secretaries negotiated a three percent raise that is retroactive to January 1st 2002. This is a contract that EOPA wants the clerical workers to be offered also.
Clerical workers have now changed their picket locations. Instead of the 12 various schools they are all taking different shifts from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in front of the Board of Education building. They say that is who and where their attention needs to be based.