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The [Friday] Papers

"Officials with the Chicago Teachers Union announced today that the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board had issued a multi-count complaint against Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for coercing longer school day votes in 13 CPS schools," the teachers union says in a news release. "The complaint found that CPS had committed dozens of different unfair labor practices."

Wow. That seems like pretty big news.

"The IELRB found that CPS unlawfully threatened and coerced teachers who participated in school votes to extend the school day, including by threatening possible school closures if they did not support it."

Holy cow!

"The Board also found that CPS offered teachers illegal inducements, such as lump sum payments, iPads, and extra compensatory days off in exchange for voting to extend the school day."

Bribes!

"The IELRB also ruled that CPS had barred Union representatives from speaking to teachers who were considering the extended school day. The Board also ruled that CPS unlawfully refused to inform the Union as to the details of the votes in which teachers were forced to participate."

Rahm rebuked!

"The IELRB ruled that CPS's actions interfere with employee rights, unlawfully discourage teachers from supporting the Union's leadership, and undermine the Union's legitimate role as bargaining representative on behalf of CPS teachers, violating Sections 14(a)(1), (3) and (5) of the Educational Labor Relations Act."

A clean sweep for the union!

Or a pack of lies?

Here's how the Tribune wrote it up:

"The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board announced late Thursday it will hold a hearing in December to review an unfair labor practice complaint from the Chicago Teachers Union over the contentious longer school day issue."

You mean the board simply agreed to hear the matter?

"The teachers union seized on Thursday's announcement as a victory, saying that in extending the legal case against CPS the labor board was siding with the union."

Okay, so the union said that, but did the board in fact side with the union? Please clarify! If the union is, well, lying about what the board actually did, say so!

"Meanwhile, CPS officials downplayed the significance of the board's announcement, saying it did not constitute a binding legal opinion, simply that enough legal questions were raised to require further examination."

Well, the truth must be in there somewhere! Did the board rule in favor of the union's quite serious charges about alleged chicanery at the behest of our new mayor or did the board merely agree to hear the case? This is no time for merely competing claims; the board acted in some manner!

The Sun-Times is of no help either.

"A state labor board is demanding a hearing on the Chicago Teachers Union's allegations that city public school officials unfairly pressured some teachers into adopting a longer school day," the paper reports.

Is the board merely "demanding" a hearing? Can't it order one? And if it did, is that unusual - or par for the course for a labor board? See, I'm trying to determine if this is a big deal or not. The papers obviously think not; I'm not so sure.

"The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board has issued a multi-count complaint, accusing CPS of 'coercing longer school day votes in 13 CPS schools,' the Chicago Teachers Union said in a news release Thursday evening."

That sounds serious - the board issued a multi-part complaint! I thought it was merely ruling on the union's allegations. Then again, the Sun-Times's source is the CTU's news release!

"CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said the board's complaint 'is not a finding that any claims brought before' the board 'are true' or even 'have merit.' The complaint is merely a finding that one or both sides have raised 'enough legal and factual questions'' to warrant a hearing, Carroll said."

True? If so, the union is lying - big-time. If the board has merely agreed to accept the case and hear the facts, the union's statements are quite disingenuous.

If not, CPS is lying.

(Carroll, by the way, "spoke" in an e-mail, so reporter Rosalind Rossi, who may or may not have initiated that kind of contact, was in no position to actually conduct an actual conversation with Carroll. So either a lazy reporter or a dodgy spokesperson.)

There must be an easy answer. I went to the labor board's website for guidance. Oops! No answers there.

I did find opinions and orders from 2005 to 2010 but nothing about the case at-hand.

And I did learn that the board "is the state agency administering the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, which establishes the right of educational employees to organize and bargain collectively. Some of the methods the IELRB employs to protect these rights are conducting secret ballot elections to ascertain educational employees' preferences regarding union representation; certifying and clarifying bargaining units; investigating, hearing and remedying unfair labor practices by educational employers and unions; and assisting parties engaged in mediation and arbitration."

I also found minutes from meetings through August.

And that bios are non-existent for two of the five board members.

And that the FAQs seem to support both CPS and the CTU:

Q: What happens after a charge is filed with the IELRB?

A: The charge is assigned to a Board Agent for investigation. The Board Agents speaks with the parties involved and reviews any written documentation provided. When necessary, the Board Agent may ask for additional documentation or witness statements. If the investigation reveals an issue of law or fact, the Executive Director will issue a Complaint and Notice of Hearing, setting the matter for hearing before an administrative law judge of the Agency. If the investigation reveals no issues of law or fact sufficient to warrant a hearing, the Executive Director will dismiss the unfair labor practice charge.

It seems a board agent has found issues of law or fact so the executive director has issued a complaint. I suppose this is like an indictment and now a trial date has been set. But does that mean the board's agent has sided with the union? (And would that be inevitable given that it's a labor board?)

During the hearing, each party will have the opportunity to present relevant evidence, question witnesses and file written post-hearing briefs. After reviewing the record and legal precedent, the administrative law judge then issues a written decision to the parties, which may be appealed to the Board.

So it is like a trial. That strikes me as significant. Or is my news judgement off? Is the board and its administrative law judge not to be taken seriously? That's the signal being sent to readers.

To remedy unfair labor practices, the administrative law judge or the IELRB attempts to restore the status quo ante; that is, to return the parties to the point they were at before the unfair labor practice occurred. Depending on the nature of the violation, some remedies could require the employer to post a notice containing an acknowledgement of the violation and a pledge to refrain from similar action in the future; rescind certain work rules or policies; reinstate employees who were wrongfully discharged, with or without backpay; and engage in good faith bargaining.

Seems to me City Hall and the CTU are heading for a showdown in front of a state agency - and the showdown involves the instruction of our schoolchildren amidst charges of "illegal inducements" and "unlawful threats and coercion."

I can't wait to see the evidence. The papers don't seem to care.

Budget Blues
Beachwood reader and contributor Astralopry writes:

"From the 2012 Budget Overview document:

Chicago will also consolidate its 12 mental health clinics to six sites and partner with community providers to offer improved mental health services at a lower cost. The focus of these clinics will be offering care to the City's most vulnerable patients by maintaining services for the 990 current uninsured patients in a more cost-effective manner and support insured patients by finding other high-quality locations for their care. These changes will be effective as of July 2012.

"What about uninsured new patients? Patients losing insurance? And in the paragraph just before that, referring to physical health clinics, the Commissioner refers to: 'high-quality, affordable care in residents' own neighborhoods.' Evidently this is considered important for physical health care but not when it comes to mental health care for the uninsured, (after the proposed consolidation of 12 CDPH clinics into six). This isn't just about 'resistance to treatment' or a little bit of inconvenience - it's also about, all too often, the lack of transit fare and either a prohibitively, or even dangerously, long walk or a missed appointment."

*

My focus is on this: "Chicago will also consolidate its 12 mental health clinics to six sites and partner with community providers to offer improved mental health services at a lower cost."

We're gonna do more with less! Better services at a lower cost by dumping care on "community providers"!

*

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed budget cuts to mental health clinics that are already stretched in resources," Eryn Rogers writes for Medill Reports.

Hey, times are tough for almost everyone.

*

See also:

"Protesters who say they're angry with Mayor Rahm Emanuel for privatizing primary care at city health clinics in his new budget rallied outside his office Wednesday."

*

Previously:

Rahm Not Tough Enough To Face Mental Health Advocates

Marred Record
The best indicator of future behavior is past performance, particularly when people demonstrate just what they are willing to do to "succeed."

I Am Not Moving
Voices of the Occupation.

May The Worst Team Win
Bears-Vikings Preview(s).

The Week In Chicago Rock
They played (softly) at a venue near you. We have the video.

The Week In WTF
Rahm's budget, the Metra, Sue and occupying Ford.

Beachwood Social
Just a reminder: The full Beachwood experience includes our Facebook posts and Twitter tweets.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Socialized.




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Posted on October 14, 2011


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
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POLITICS - Police Stood By In Charlottesville.
SPORTS - Why Colin Kaepernick Matters.

BOOKS - Windy City Blues.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Fish Unboxing.


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