DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Teachers in Trotwood are making a final stand before they head to the negotiation table. The Trotwood-Madison teacher’s union has been working without a new contract since July.

All the union members at Thursday night’s school board meeting wore a button with a John Lewis quote, “Getting into good trouble.” Union members said they’re heading into negotiations for the 39th time, and hope this message resonates with district leaders.

“We are really just trying to send the message that we are united, our union is strong, we’re out here together, and sometimes you have to stir up good trouble in order for your voice to be heard,” second grade teacher Julie Emmons said.

Trotwood-Madison City Schools teachers, staff, bus drivers and more flooded the meeting room ahead of the Trotwood-Madison Board of Education’s regular meeting. Union members stood at the sides of the room and recited the Pledge of Allegiance to show their unity.

“We want the board to know, and administrators know that we’re here, we’re here to stay,” third grade teacher Larry Barnes said. “We are we’re going to have stability. We’re going to be responsible. We’re going to do all we can do for our children.”

Since July, the more than 300 members of the Trotwood-Madison Education Association have been working under an expired contract.

That contract covers salaries, working conditions and other details that determine educators’ day to day.

Union and district leaders will return to the negotiation table Friday morning to discuss a counterproposal presented by the district. Superintendent Dr. Reva Cosby said she’s optimistic the district and union will come to an agreement.

“We have to reach that agreement,” Dr. Cosby said. “What is that spot that, you know, we do meet the needs of our staff, but we also meet the needs of our district and our community.”

Both union members and district leaders said they want to see this issue resolved fairly.

“We’re just trying to work together and just know that we’re working together for our students and our communities,” Barnes said. “So, we’re just looking for something that’s fair for both sides.”

“It is an area of concern for all of us,” Dr. Cosby said. “And the sooner we get it done, you know, the better for staff and students.”

Both parties said they are prepared to return to the table again if negotiations do not go through. If this continues, union members said at no point will they stop them from showing up every day for their students.