In a legal battle before the Illinois Labor Relations Board, Geneva School District 304 is now filing a counterclaim against the Geneva Education Association for unfair labor practices, the Kane County Chronicle reports.
The GEA filed the charge against the School District on Dec. 10, before a new three-year teachers contract was ratified. But the GEA officers decided to move forward with the complaint, saying its members "still feel like they were treated wrongly."
GEA President Carol Young said the School Board was trying to intimidate teachers when it sent an e-mail informing them that they would be responsible for paying for their full health and dental insurance premiums for every day during a work stoppage.
A GEA press release said the e-mail was "a threat directly to teachers in an illegal attempt to coerce/intimidate them from their plans to engage in a lawful strike."
The School District's counter-complaint says the GEA's attorney offered to voluntarily withdraw the charge if a contract agreement were reached. That happened on Nov. 20, when the School Board voted to ratify the contract.
Papers filed by District 304 say the union's refusal to withdraw the charge is in itself evidence that the GEA had not bargained in good faith and therefore was a violation of the Illinois Education Labor Relations Act.
The School District also filed documents defending itself against the unfair labor practices charge. District 304's filing said it had no contractual obligation to pay for teachers' salaries and benefits during a work stoppage and that the e-mail was meant to inform rather than coerce, the Chronicle story said.
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