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12/29/95 MIDWEST CENTRAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION v.

December 29, 1995

MIDWEST CENTRAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, IEA-NEA, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
ILLINOIS EDUCATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD AND MIDWEST CENTRAL UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 191, RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES. BOARD OF EDUCATION OF MIDWEST CENTRAL COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 191, CROSS-PETITIONER, CROSS-APPELLANT, V. ILLINOIS EDUCATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD AND MIDWEST CENTRAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, IEA-NEA, CROSS-RESPONDENTS, CROSS-APPELLEES.



Petition for review of an Order of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. IELRB Case No. 93-CA-0027-S. Cross Appeal for Review of an Order of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. IELRB No. 93-CA-0027-S.

Presiding Justice Hoffman delivered the opinion of the court: Cahill and Theis, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hoffman

PRESIDING JUSTICE HOFFMAN delivered the opinion of the court:

The petitioner, Midwest Central Education Association, IEA-NEA (Association), filed a complaint against the respondent, Midwest Central Unit School District 191 (District), before the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (Board), alleging that the District committed an unfair labor practice by failing to comply with a labor arbitrator's award. The Board ruled that the arbitrator's award was invalid because his remedy violated section 10(b) of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. (Act)(115 ILCS 5/10(b) (West 1992).) The Association now appeals the Board's decision, contending that it erred in determining the award was unenforceable. The District cross-appeals, arguing that the Board erred in finding that the dispute at issue was arbitrable and that the arbitrator's award was authorized under the collective bargaining agreement though not under the Act.

In lieu of an evidentiary hearing before the Board, the parties submitted a joint stipulation of facts and joint exhibits, establishing the following. The District originated as the consolidation of three school districts, one of which was the Forman Unit School District. Pursuant to the School Code (105 ILCS 5/1-1 et seq. (West 1992)), the District and the Association entered into a collective bargaining agreement (agreement) that was in effect at all times relevant to this case. The agreement contained a three-step grievance procedure that culminated in final and binding arbitration for all disputes involving a misinterpretation, misapplication, or violation of the agreement.

During the 1990-91 school year, Kelly Siltman was employed by the Forman district as a first-year probationary physical education instructor and girls' basketball coach. Siltman's position was renewed for the 1991-92 school year, giving her the status of second-year probationary teacher. At all relevant times, Siltman was a member of the Association and covered by the agreement.

On March 19, 1992, Siltman received written notification from the District's board of education regarding a resolution not to reemploy her for the 1992-93 academic year. The notification provided as follows:

"The reason you are not to be reemployed is the decision of the Board of Education that your commitment to team building and the development of a harmonious relationship between staff and the administration has not met the standards expected at Midwest Central. You have persistently failed to manifest an open mind and willingness to support administrative initiatives."

The effect of the notification was to terminate Siltman at the end of the 1991-92 school year.

When subsequent efforts to resolve the issue proved unsatisfactory, the Association initiated grievance proceedings against the District on Siltman's behalf. The Association charged that the District violated the agreement because, inter alia, (1) their action against Siltman was not based upon just cause; (2) her alleged offenses were remediable, but were not made known to her until the day of her nonrenewal; and (3) the District failed to apply "progressive discipline" as provided in the collective bargaining agreement.

On November 16, 1992, following a hearing, a labor arbitrator issued an award (1) finding that the dispute between the District and Siltman was arbitrable under the collective bargaining agreement, and (2) sustaining Siltman's grievance on the basis that the District failed to adhere to procedures under the collective bargaining agreement in the period prior to her nonrenewal. The arbitrator noted that there was no requirement under the agreement that there be "just cause" for the nonrenewal of a nontenured teacher. However, he concluded that the District violated the agreement by failing to give Siltman any notification prior to the date of her nonrenewal notice regarding parental or student complaints about her performance, and by failing to apply "progressive discipline" to her situation. The arbitrator determined that teachers were entitled to notification regarding problems and to an opportunity to rectify their conduct. Accordingly, he ordered the District to reinstate Siltman for a third probationary year and make her whole for the portion of the 1992-93 year for which she was not employed by the District.

The District failed to comply with the arbitrator's order and on February 2, 1993, the Association filed a complaint before the Board charging the District with committing an unfair labor practice under sections 14(a)(8) and, derivatively, 14(a)(1) of the Act. (115 ILCS 5/14(a)(8), (a)(1) (West 1992).) The District filed an answer and affirmative defenses alleging that the award was not enforceable because the arbitrator's remedy exceeded his authority under both the agreement and the Act. Accordingly, the District sought dismissal of the complaint along with any other relief the Board deemed appropriate. On March 19, 1993, the board of education passed a resolution of non-employment for Siltman for the 1993-94 school year, premised upon essentially the same reasons as the resolution of March 19, 1992.

On October 28, 1993, the administrative law judge issued a recommended decision and order upholding the arbitrator's ruling and concluding that the District violated section 14(a)(8) and (a)(1) of the Act by refusing to comply with the award. The judge ordered that the District comply with the award's provisions.

The District filed exceptions to the administrative law judge's recommendation before the Board, arguing that the grievance was neither substantively arbitrable under the agreement nor under section 10(b) of the Act. (115 ILCS 5/10(b) (West 1992).) It further argued that the arbitrator exceeded his authority and violated section 10(b) by awarding Siltman ...


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