Labor practice charge pending against District 304

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – Although officials said an unfair labor practice complaint against Geneva School District 304 likely will be dismissed, a state official said the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board will begin an investigation.

The Geneva Education Association filed the complaint Thursday with the labor relations board against the district.

“The district interfered with, restrained, and/or coerced employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed by the [Illinois Educational Labor Relations] Act, and engaged in bad faith bargaining by announcing a unilateral change to the process for paying employees insurance premiums in the event employees participated in a work stoppage,” the complaint states.

The complaint refers to an email sent to teachers stating they would be responsible to pay their full health and dental insurance premiums for every day of a work stoppage.

School board President Mark Grosso said he would not comment. Union officials did not return voice mail messages seeking comment.

John Brosnan, special counsel to the labor board, said although it is common for these complaints to be dismissed once a contract is signed, this complaint is pending and will be assigned to an investigator. The investigator will make a recommendation to the director, Brosnan said.

“If there is sufficient evidence of violation to issue a complaint, then it goes to hearing before an administrative law judge,” Brosnan said.

If the judge rules against the school district, the district could be required to post notices announcing the act was violated and that it won’t happen again.

School officials and union members arrived at a tentative agreement Monday after a marathon negotiating session.

Teachers are expected to hear the terms of the proposed contract and vote on it this week. If teachers ratify the contract, the school board is expected to approve it at a meeting. Once it’s approved by the board, the terms of the agreement will become public, officials said.

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