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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Rockford School Bus Drivers Approve Strike


Bus drivers are giving a greenlight for AFSCME Local 1275 to call a strike if a contract agreement isn’t reached.

The previous contract with the workers and the Rockford School District expired in June.

Main points of contention are wages and health insurance costs.

Ed Sadlowski, with the union, says the bus drivers are struggling to make ends meet.

"This has been a long standing economic build up, in my opinion of people just going to work in abject poverty every day," Sadlowski said. "And being confronted with an employer that wants to take more from them at the same time.”

He adds that the workers are committed to seeing changes occur.

“The real message here is that the workers have sent a very clear and firm message back to the employer that this is a real situation.," Sadlowski said. "They’ve been matter-of-fact about this from the beginning of negotiations."

The district buses provide rides for more than 18,000 students. Rockford Superintendent Ehren Jarrett tells the Register-Star the district is committed to negotiating in good faith.

Negotiations are scheduled to continue on Nov. 10.

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