GEA Files Unfair Labor Practice Charge Against District 304

The Geneva teachers union says the School Board's notice that it will not pay teachers' insurance premiums during a strike constitutes a threat and intimidation.

The Geneva Education Asssocation issued a press release Saturday saying it has filed an unfair labor practice charge against Geneva Community Unit District 304, saying the board was trying to intimidate the teachers union from going on strike by saying teachers would have to pay for their full health and dental insurance premiums for every day during a work stoppage.

The press release says the School Board "sent a threat directly to teachers in an illegal attempt to coerce/intimidate them from their plans to engage in a lawful strike."

According to the release published on the GEA website, the dispute arose Wednesday when teachers received letters from the School Board regarding the health and dental insurance premiums and other items that remain undecided because they are part of a continuing negotiations process.

"The letter represented an attempt to coerce and intimidate teachers into not exercising their lawful rights," the release said.

“We remain committed to getting this dispute settled fairly,” said GEA President Carol Young. “But we won’t stand idly by as the School Board behaves in an intimidating manner toward our members.”

Young said the GEA is also investigating the potential of filing additional charges against the School Board for bargaining in bad faith.

The charge filed Saturday was sent to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, the state agency responsible for enforcing educational labor relations laws and regulations in Illinois.


SOURCE: Geneva Education Association

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Michelle November 12, 2012 at 05:46 AM
Hi Doug - the emotions are running high right now. If you are a parent with young kids just starting out in the district I totally can see your viewpoint that you want to ensure a quality education is available for your kids, just as it was for those who came before you. The people in this community have a long history of supporting teachers, schools and volunteering to provide the best possible education for our kids. If you haven't been following along - the problem is that the current compensation model, mandatory annual increases for "showing up" (step), pay increases for continuing ed, whether or not it has anything to do with their career (lane) and increasing salaries by over 18% in the 3 years prior to retirement just to increase the pensions, has led to some terrible abuse. We are a school district over 300 million in debt right now. If we continue to pay what the union dictates - we'll be in a deeper financial hole. And what happens to schools in deep financial holes? They are forced to cut programs. So I applaud the fact that you are concerned about your kid's education here - but be aware that spending more and more on union contracts won't do a thing to improve teaching in the classroom - and may result in cuts elsewhere to meet these exorbitant payrolls. Just my opinion.
Silence Dogood November 12, 2012 at 06:35 AM
You go on strike, only for a moment, and the damage's done Step and Lane, pass before my eyes, right into history Dust in the wind, GEA is dust in the wind Same old song, asking for increases quite incessantly All they do is, lead their flock to ruin, though they refuse to see Dust in the wind, GEA is dust in the wind Don't walk out, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky It slips away, all your striking won't a better deal buy Dust in the wind, GEA is dust in the wind
Bob McQuillan November 12, 2012 at 07:21 AM
How many green-shirted pickets must a student walk by Before you call it off? How many lanes must a teacher cross Before we say that’s enough? Yes, how many steps must the public pay for Before they're forever banned ? The answer taxpayer is blowin' in the wind The answer is blowin' in the wind. Yes, how many sick days can be given Before it's ridiculous? Yes, how many years can some people teach Before they're allowed to collect a pension? Yes, how many times can a parent turn his head Pretending he just doesn't see ? The answer taxpayer is blowin' in the wind The answer is blowin' in the wind. Yes, how many times must a 6% raise be given Before it can bankrupt a town? Yes, how much money must someone have Before he can hear people cry? Yes, how many strike days will it take till he knows That many people have lost respect for him? The answer taxpayer is blowin' in the wind The answer is blowin' in the wind.
Lisa P November 12, 2012 at 11:51 AM
that is so true...the system is flawed and we're the stooges.
Ann November 12, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Why did Tom Fortune post "Yahoooooo!" At 12:50 last night? How did "Tom" know the result of the negotiations that supposedly concluded only 20min prior? Is the post now deleted? Is "Tom Fortune" Carol Young or her husband? Throughout this debate I've attempted to steer clear of "Tom's" degrading, condescending, juvenile posts. In light of his inside knowledge "Tom" is clearly within the GEA. I am amazed this individual is amongst the leadership of the GEA. I recognize we each have the right to our opinions. Several of us have posted emotional outbursts as both sides are passionate in their beliefs. But, a leader is held to a higher standard. Would you approve of a principal or administrator speaking the way "Tom" did? For those of you not familiar with his posts just click on his name in his posts and you will see his plethora of arguments in which he has engaged. There is nothing wrong with arguing both sides. That I respect. Rather, there is a problem when an individual is not truthful, calls others names, etc. No leader should behave in that manor. If this is who leads the teachers union it is certainly another example of why this system needs reform.
Julie November 12, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Tom F....yesterday you asked to meet me face to face. I agreed to meet you..you just needed to say the time and place. I'm waiting... Ann-I think you know all of the answers to your questions. Carol Young and the union are bottom feeders and nothing they pull, nothing they do and nothing they say surprises me.
Lisa P November 12, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Tom is clearly an insider. Yesterday his posts were mean and extremely bitter. If he is a teacher and he's representative of the group, wow. The strategy is clear: wear the Board down till they give in. Can you imagine sitting in a meeting for 10 hrs straight? Can you imagine doing or saying one thing with the threat of a lawsuit hanging over your head? There has to be a better way.
Sue J November 12, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Yes, I agree he has some connection to the GEA and has acted inappropriately throughout this whole ordeal.
Lisa P November 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM
And the union has one thing that we do not have: they are organized, we are not. Aside from TaxFacts and this forum, which is a new entity to many of us, we are NOT communicating or acting as a group. If we are going to improve the situation, that has to change.
Sue J November 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Tom is quiet this morning. He probably was up too late and now has to be at school.
Doug Clark November 12, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Not teacher bashing....."bottom feeders"? I have been very well aware of what has been going on with the Geneva School District for the 20 years that I have lived here. Just because my youngest child just started last year in this school system, doesn't mean that I haven't been concerned with our community's educational system. I personally know many teachers and school board members who have taught and served this community with dedication and hard work over the many years I have lived here. Just because the teachers are in a contract dispute does not make them indifferent and selfish individuals! Many of these people are our neighbors, our church members, our friends....and most importantly, our children's teachers. We as a community need to get over the anger and again support our school district and teachers whole-heartedly!
Grace F November 12, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Yes, Doug, we need to support our school district and teachers, but that does not mean that "how we do business" does not need to change. As has been reiterated many times, it is an outdated model. Every industry needs to change to stay viable. Thanks, Bob, for the reminder that tonight's meeting is very important to the future of our community.
Julie November 12, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Doug, sorry, but it's how I feel. If these negotiations were going on for a month or two last summer and the antics weren't played the way they were by the GEA, I'd feel differently. I find it interesting that you blame us for all of the wrongdoing when it was very clear that there were educators on this same site giving us equal treatment. Be fair, Doug. The worst of the name calling on here was by people who were teachers and/or were married to teachers. I called Ms. Young a bottom feeder and I will never feel differently about her...never.
Kathy November 12, 2012 at 01:16 PM
At this point people, we just need to trust the school board and it's decisions. They are well aware of how the public feels about the teacher contract. We'll see on Wednesday how it all worked out last night.
Ann November 12, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Lisa, you are absolutely correct. The GEA has the Union's armamentarium at their disposal. This includes negotiators with decades of experience as well as a team of attorneys. This was clearly a learning experience for many citizens, myself included. I only hope the passion displayed over this last week will carry through to the upcoming elections for the School Board next year. Hopefully this Board has laid the foundation for positive reform in the coming future. My complements and gratitude to the Board for their efforts in this endeavor. I only pray that the final decision is one which the citizens of this town can afford.
Tom Fortune November 12, 2012 at 02:16 PM
I agree with Doug...Many of you complain that I am name calling but completely ignore comments other make like "Bottom Feeder"....I guess you only call people out who don't agree with your point of view. And many of you are ASSuming again...I do not work in District 304. I work for another district as stated before. I was quiet this morning because I was sleeping in...My district has the day off for Veteran’s Day. The position I hold in my district has allowed me to make many contacts in surrounding districts. It's very frustrating to hear many of you talk about issues that you have no information about. I'm glad the BOE came to their senses and realized that they can't offer something one minute and take it away the next.
Doug Clark November 12, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Julie- I went through the last 100 comments again and honestly, there is no comparison to those comments made by people you assume to be teachers or spouses of teachers and community members and their harsh comments....I'm glad that Ms. Young is not your child's teacher, that's for sure. As far as being an "outdated model", I really don't know what you are referring to. The educational system has made many changes over the last decade to be more accountable regarding tenure, teacher evaluations, etc. If you are referring to the bargaining system that goes on between BOE and teacher organizations, what specifically would you change? There are fewer teacher strikes in the last decade than ever before......when I was in college in the early 70's, teacher strikes were the norm. I had a good friend who taught in Elgin and they went on strike almost every contract renewal. No one doubts that in our area of the state, teachers are well compensated for their jobs, IF they stay in their profession for 20+ years. Unfortunately, the rate of teachers quitting the profession after two or three years is alarming at best. As I stated before, we need to as a community, continue supporting our teachers, administrators and schools in whichever way we can...volunteer, attend school functions, and just step back and applaud our teachers for the fantastic job they do in a very difficult profession.
Julie November 12, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Tom...Where are we meeting? Anytime after 5 this week..any public place. I'm willing to sit and talk face to face and see if we can understand each other's stances. Let me know.
Julie November 12, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Rest assured that if Mrs. Young was my child's teacher, I would have moved her out of that school. Even a new teacher there said that the entire demeanor of that school has changed since this all began. Doug...you are posting to the wrong person..I have never typed the words, "outdated model". Please adjust your post to the correct person-thanks! Oh, and please take a look at Chris' comments from about 10 minutes ago. Is that not name calling?
Jack November 12, 2012 at 03:01 PM
At the end of whatever new contract period may be negotiated, we can revisit the question of how to relate to our teachers. Until then we will be, at best, neutral. The teachers have created the negativity and they can live with it until they are seen to make a sincere and meaningful attempt to repair the relationship. Money has obviously been more important to the GEA teachers than has been an amicable relationship with the community. They have made this bed -- let them lie in it.
Beth Ward November 12, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Was going to comment, but there are no words.....
Doug Clark November 12, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Julie- I was only directing the first part of my comments to you...the rest were to other people commenting on my previous post. Sorry, if I confused anyone. I couldn't find any post from "Chris" to read....was it removed?
Dan November 13, 2012 at 09:10 PM
I was a municipal bond investor, and still work in the industry. I know the structure of school district debt, and we have some strange bonds we agreed to as a group of taxpayers. Bob is correct, the interest rate structure in the bonds was low on the front end, and bumps up in the middle years - weird structure to say the least. Don't get me started on the poor projections of population growth that went into the mix before the debt was voted on by the public or the lack of outrage over the strange structure of the interest payments pushed to us by the financial advisor. Bob is right - where do we find the extra $9.4 million? Keep in mind, the tax levy just passed at 1.5% by the board of education, leaves a 900,000 deficit ( a 2% levy would have left a 600,000 deficit, so by the math, the board was seeing 3% levy increase as a breakeven). So if 1% tax tevy increase = roughly $300,000 in the school budget, and if $9.4 million extra interest divided by $300,000 is about 31, then we need a 31% TAX RATE LEVY INCREASE!!! just for debt service. That's about a $9000 increase in your tax bill for a $300,000 house value. That's assuming 0% increases over the next 7 years in teacher benefits and salaries, regular budget and maintenance items, no new building or renovations beyond what's in the existing budget..... You get the idea.
Dan November 13, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Tom - I disagree with you. There was a call out on name calling by Doug on Julie, and she stuck with it and explained why. Ann asked how you knew confidential information at 12:50am when you aren't even in the district. I'll ask it too, how did you know? Meet with Julie, and let us know when and where too so we can join her.
Dan November 13, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Doug, outdated models are those that artifically pump up the 6% per year for the 3 years preceding retirement. Those days are gone, are most systems are recognizing it. The step and lane auto-raises without regard to teacher performance is also outdated. Most leaders and parents are calling for pay for performance. Moving from a defined benefit pension to defined contribution 403b is a concept long overdue and was done in the corporate world in the 80's and 90's. You now see why the 'rest of us' look at the pay package and benefits compared to what we all are familiar with and transitioned to as an outdated model. At least that's the kind of thoughts I had when I read Julie's point.
Grace F November 13, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Dan - such a confusing topic. What can taxpayers do now?
Grace F November 13, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Julie November 13, 2012 at 09:24 PM
I've asked Tom for the meeting HE asked for over three time. Tom, where did you go? Again...anytime after 5...anywhere in Geneva. I'm still waiting...
Bob McQuillan November 13, 2012 at 10:02 PM
The levy topic is very confusing and almost impossible to understand the first time going through it. Bottom line is that the board approved a resolution last night to vote on a 1.5% levy. That vote is scheduled to take place on December 10th. The linked presentation recaps all the options available from 3% to 1.5% but fails to provide the option of a 0% levy. A 1.5% levy provides more money than the district received this year and means a school property tax increase for virtually everyone. https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=33133568 Please watch the video from last night's meeting. Decide for yourself if the tax increase is too high and then let the board know your feelings. board@geneva304.org We could always wear green shirts with a big 0% on the front to the school board meeting.
Doug Clark November 15, 2012 at 02:20 AM
@Dan- Thank you for answering my question. I do have some questions though about your idea regarding changing from the present teacher pension model to a 403B program. I did a little research on this and this is what I found out...teachers pay 9.4% of their income into the T.R.S. (Teachers' Retirement System), the school districts pay another 1.5% and the state of Illinois pays 6.7%. If they went into a defined contribution 403B program, I am assuming we are talking that there would also be some matching of funds like most corporations, like 2% or 3%. The teachers do not receive social security, which I believe the employers' stake is around 6.4% for each of its employees. So if the teachers paid 10% of the income into 403Bs and the school districts matched up to 3% and then let's say the state paid the 6.4% of social security......it seems like the school districts would pay more and the state would pay essentially the same! So where would the savings come from? The teachers might like that because the state would be mandated by the federal government to make their social security payments as opposed to putting off their obligation for 20+ years (like the state of Illinois did). It seems we would be trading off payments with no real savings...plus we would have to figure in the cost of switching programs which I believe would be astronomical!! Our General Assembly has some tough problems to figure out...this is just one of the many!


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