Lake Forest union levies labor charges
Updated: September 11, 2012 4:36PM
LAKE FOREST — The Lake Forest Education Association filed four unfair labor practice charges against the District 115 School Board with the State of Illinois Monday in the latest development leading up to Wednesday’s pending teachers strike.
The LFEA contends in a statement it released Monday night that the District 115 Board of Education “has acted illegally in an attempt to disrupt the lawful actions of teachers” when it made public statements in the media, to parents and on its website claiming that the union’s leadership may have acted unlawfully in publishing their offer to the public.
The charges also include failure to bargain in good faith, refusing to bargain over aspects of the wage proposals and changing the school calendar.
“We disagree with all the claims and anticipate this will be resolved when the contract is settled,” Board President Sharon Golan said.
The school board issued a statement on Aug. 17 that it believed the LFEA acted in violation of the Labor Act by publishing its last offer and cost analysis, prior to the parties meeting to review the proposals, and prior to the Labor Board’s determination to authorize publication of the final offers.
Also, the school board has said in a strike plan it released last week that athletic events will continue during a threatened teachers strike.
“We believe that this is an effort to extend the length of any potential strike and a blatant attempt to circumnavigate” Illinois High School Association bylaws that do not allow sporting events while teachers are on strike and “could result in the forfeiture of any games played,” the LFEA statement said.
School board negotiators are available at the Lake Forest High School East Campus tonight, willing to meet with the teachers union, District 115 spokeswoman Anne Whipple said.
Chuck Gress, LFHS teacher and union spokesperson, said LFEA negotiators will not attend.
“We’re not going tonight,” he said.
Gress said the LFEA is asking parents of high school, elementary and middle school students to attend the school board’s meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the LFHS West Campus, 300 S. Waukegan Road, where printed material outlining the teachers’ position will be distributed to attendees as they enter.
“We feel it is important our parents get information and go to the school board meeting tomorrow night,” Gress said.
The LFEA, however, will not be present at the school board meeting Tuesday, Gress said.
“It’s between the parents and the board to have a discussion,” he said. “We’ll be back at the high school (LFHS East Campus) ready to negotiate into the evening so we can get this contract resolved before the strike.”
The LFEA has said it will strike at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday if the contract is not resolved.
The two sides disagree on wages, salaries and a two-tier pay system the school board has proposed that will lower the pay scale for future teachers.