MURPHYSBORO — Teachers in Murphysboro could go on strike as soon as the first of next month.

The Murphysboro Education Association voted overwhelming Tuesday evening to authorize a strike. The earliest they could do this is Oct. 1.

According to an Illinois Education Association press release, the strike authorization vote by MEA comes after a lack of progress in negotiation sessions with Murphysboro Community Unit School District 186 Board of Education including the last session on Aug. 16 with a federal mediator.

MEA is made up of 148 teachers in the school district which serves 2,175 students. They have been working without a contract since the beginning of the school year. Negotiations with the board started in March of this year.

The MEA plans to reach out to the public this Friday during the Children’s Pet and Hobby Parade for support during the remainder of the negotiation process.

Teachers will be encouraging the public to reach out to board members to attend the next school board meeting on Sept. 25. The next contract negotiation session is set for Sept. 26 at the school board office in Murphysboro.