Teachers File Unfair Labor Claim Against Board
Tensions escalate with strike less than a day away. Work stoppage will force cancellation of athletic contests.
The contract dispute between the Lake Forest Education Association teachers’ union (LFEA) and Lake Forest Community High School District 115 intensified Monday when the union filed an unfair labor practices claim against the Board.
This complaint added to the contentious relationship developing between the Board and the LFEA. With the teachers planning to strike in just over 18 hours, the two sides are unable to agree on when to next meet.
The Board wanted to meet Monday afternoon but the teachers asked for a meeting today. The Board could not meet then because of its regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. today at the West Campus.
The teachers explained Sunday they wanted to present their position to the parent community at today’s Board meeting and would continue talks with the District immediately afterward.
Before any meeting could take place, the LFEA filed its complaint with Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board Monday alleging “The District unilaterally changed terms and conditions of employment, refused to bargain over wages, insisted on non-mandatory subjects of bargaining and engaged in general bad faith conduct while bargaining a successor agreement.”
Illinois Education Association UniServ Director Mark Stein criticized the Board for making public statements both through the media and to parents on the school website saying union leadership may have acted unlawfully publishing their offer to the public.”
“The LFEA contends that the BOE intended to undercut our negotiation team’s credibility with our membership and the public,” Stein said. “The charges also include the failure to bargain in good faith over contract issues, including demanding unreasonable contract reopeners and refusing to bargain over aspects of the wage proposals.”
Board President Sharon Golan’s response was quick and direct. “We disagree with all the claims and anticipate this will be resolved when the contract is settled,” she said.
In another strike related matter, Golan modified a portion of the District’s plan in the event of a strike in light of a ruling by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) saying the organization did not have jurisdiction to change its bylaws to allow Chicago Public School athletic programs to continue. Chicago teachers went on strike Monday.
“We were recently informed that the IHSA will strictly enforce the rules regarding interscholastic contests,” Golan said. “This ruling prohibits us from participating in competition if the teachers go on strike.”