By Sahid Fawaz

The Chicago Tribune reports:

"Health benefits for some of the striking workers at Palatine School District 15 have been cut, prompting charges of bully tactics from the employees’ union, which claims they should receive health insurance through the end of the month.

But district officials said they clearly warned the employees that a strike would result in loss of pay and benefits. The district said that warning came more than a week before about 450 support staff walked off the job Monday.

Contract negotiations are expected to resume Sunday morning. But on Thursday, the representatives for the Education Support Personnel Association, which represents district support staff, including nurses and aides, cried foul after they began receiving reports from their members that they no longer had health insurance.

Union officials say members have already contributed their portion of their health care for October and should have remained covered.

'They (collectively) spend $40,848 for insurance every two weeks,' said Bridget Shanahan, a spokeswoman for the union’s parent group, the Illinois Education Association. 'That money was stolen from our members. It’s extremely disheartening, it’s cruel, it’s dangerous and it’s bullying.'

But the district said the union misinformed workers about how their insurance program works, and said it clearly communicated in a letter sent before the strike vote that such a move could lead to loss of pay and benefits."

For the rest of the story, check ou the full piece at the Chicago Tribune here.

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