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Chicago Teachers Union, Local No. 1 v. Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board

October 24, 2002

CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION, LOCAL NO. 1 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, AFL-CIO, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
ILLINOIS EDUCATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD AND THE CHICAGO SCHOOL REFORM BOARD OF TRUSTEES, RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from an Order of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. Nos. 2000-CA-0033-C & 2000-CA-0041-C

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Theis

UNPUBLISHED

This consolidated appeal was brought by petitioner, Chicago Teachers Union, Local No. 1 American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO (the Union), on petitions for direct review from two opinions and orders entered by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB). After the Union filed grievances alleging that respondent, the Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees, now known as the City of Chicago Board of Education (Board of Education), violated Articles 24-2 and 24-4 of their collective bargaining agreement by failing to select four Chicago public school teachers to teach summer school classes, the arbitrators ruled in favor of the Union and ordered the Board of Education to make the teachers whole for the earnings they would have realized had they been selected to teach summer school. When the Board of Education refused to comply with the arbitration awards, the Union filed unfair labor practice charges against it, alleging that the Board of Education violated section 14(a)(8) and, derivatively, section 14(a)(1) of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act, (115 ILCS 5/14(a)(1), (a)(8) (West 1996)) (the Act) by refusing to comply with the awards. The IELRB ruled that the arbitration awards were not binding, and thus, the Board of Education did not violate the Act by failing to comply with the awards, because the grievances concerned a matter of "class staffing and assignment" under section 4.5(a)(4) of the Act and were not subject to collective bargaining or arbitration. 115 ILCS 5/4.5(a)(4) (West 1996). For the following reasons, we reverse and remand.

At issue in this consolidated appeal is the interpretation and application of section 4.5(a)(4) of the Act, which provides:

"(a) Notwithstanding the existence of any other provision in this Act or other law, collective bargaining between an educational employer * * * and an exclusive representative of its employees shall not include any of the following subjects:

(4) Decisions to determine class size, class staffing and assignment, class schedules, academic calendar, hours and places of instruction, or pupil assessment policies, and the impact of these decisions on individual employees or the bargaining unit.

(b) The subject or matters described in subsection (a) are prohibited subjects of bargaining between an educational employer and an exclusive representative of its employees and, for the purpose of this Act, are within the sole authority of the educational employer to decide." 115 ILCS 5/4.5(a)(4), (b) (West 1996).

The following facts are relevant to this appeal. Chicago public school teachers Phyllis Trottman, Ellen Clark and Linnetta Banks are the subject of appeal number 1-01-0293. At the time of the arbitration hearing in 1999, Trottman had taught in the Chicago public schools for 18 years, working for the previous 10 years teaching first grade at Clara Barton Elementary School (Barton). Clark taught third- and fourth-grade special education at Barton for 10 years. Banks, a second-grade teacher at Barton, taught in the Chicago public schools for 29 years. All three were regularly appointed teachers and none had taught summer school in the two years prior to the 1998 summer session. In 1998, there were no regular summer school classes at Barton. Instead, the school offered the "Bridge Program," which consisted of classes for students who failed to advance to the next grade level, for grades 3, 6, and 8 and an "Early Intervention Program" for grades 1 and 2. Barton also offered a "Social Center Program," which focused on recreational activities.

At the arbitration hearing, Barton's principal testified that Trottman, Clark and Banks did not submit timely applications for summer school. However, in making credibility determinations, the arbitrator specifically found the principal's assertion that she did not receive Trottman's, Clark's and Banks' applications "not credible." The arbitrator also found "numerous inconsistencies and implausibilities in her testimony that seriously damaged her credibility as a witness." Similarly, the principal's testimony that she was unaware that Trottman, Clark and Banks were interested in teaching summer school "flies in the face of the evidence adduced on the record" and "cannot stand in the face of Trottman's credible testimony." The arbitrator carefully weighed the testimony and found that the principal "[came] up short." Accordingly, the arbitrator rejected the principal's assertion that Trottman, Clark and Banks were not chosen for summer school because their applications were not timely received and made the specific factual finding that Trottman, Clark and Banks submitted timely summer school applications. Additionally, Trottman, Clark and Banks were not selected to teach during the 1998 summer session while at least six teachers who were chosen to teach that summer taught summer school during the previous two years. The arbitrator made no factual findings concerning the Social Center Program.

Chicago public school teacher Jeannie Pimentel is involved in appeal number 1-01-2510. Pimentel was a regularly appointed teacher with the Chicago public schools, teaching kindergarten at Marquette Elementary School. She submitted a timely application for the 1997 summer school session, but was not chosen to teach. When she spoke with the assistant principal regarding why she was not selected, he told her that if a vacancy arose during the summer, she would be selected to fill the position. However, when a position became available, it was given to a teacher with less seniority than Pimentel.

The Union filed a grievance on behalf of Trottman, Clark and Banks, alleging that the Board of Education violated Articles 24-2 and 24-4 of the 1995-99 collective bargaining agreement by failing to select them for the 1998 summer school session. Article 24-2 of the collective bargaining agreement provided:

"Assignments to all summer schools shall be made in the following order: (1) Regularly appointed teachers in their own subject, (2) Regularly certificated teachers in their own subject, (3) Regularly appointed teachers certified in other subjects in which they satisfy Bureau of Employment Eligibility requirements, (4) FTBs [full-time basis substitute teachers], and (5) Day-to-day substitutes."

Article 24-4 provided: "In areas where there are more qualified applicants for summer school positions than positions available, preference shall be given to applicants who have taught fewer than two summer sessions immediately preceding the current summer session." The grievance alleged that Trottman, Clark and Banks applied to teach during the 1998 summer session, but were not chosen. Instead, the grievance stated, new teachers and teachers who worked more than two consecutive summer sessions were selected.

Barton's principal denied Trottman's, Clark's and Banks' grievance, stating that the issue was no longer grievable. The Union appealed the principal's decision to the Board of Education's chief executive officer, who denied the grievance on the basis that the teachers did not apply for summer school positions at Barton. The Union then demanded arbitration. At the arbitration hearing, the Board of Education objected to the arbitrator's jurisdiction, arguing that the grievance involved a matter of "class staffing and assignment" and was, thus, a prohibited subject of bargaining and arbitration under section 4.5(a)(4) of the Act. The arbitrator deferred the question of substantive arbitrability to the IELRB. She then determined that Trottman, Clark and Banks applied for the 1998 summer session and were entitled to priority under Articles 24-2 and 24-4 of the collective bargaining agreement. The arbitrator concluded that the Board of Education violated the agreement by failing to follow the ...


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