While Brizard avoids the bargaining table, million dollar outside lawyers push attack on CTU credibility... Labor Board rejects insulting attack on CTU credibility by Brizard, CPS on strike authorization
In the latest move by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to subvert the rights of Chicago Teachers Union members to hold a strike authorization vote, the leadership of the Chicago Public Schools made a melodramatic request that the Illinois Labor Relations Board order the preservation of all records of the current voting organized by the CTU on the strike authorization. The clear implication, stated to the media by schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and CPS's $165,000-per year "Communications" chief, Becky Carroll, was that CTU was cheating on the voting or the counting or something.
The June 4 demand from the Board of Educationâ€™s outside lawyers, Franzek Radelet, made 20 specific requests which would have taken the union hundreds of hours to fulfill and which potentially would have tied up union officers and members in court for months, clearly, as union officers responded, based on the spurious claim that the union would be cheating in the voting process and the count. The request itself was predicated on the notion that the union would be cheating to get the necessary 75 percent required by law, and as a potential fall back provision provided the Board of Education with an excuse to tie up any future action by the union behind the claims that the union had cheated, even before any voting began (the Boardâ€™s request was brought to the IELRB on June 4; the unionâ€™s voting began on June 6).
The request by the Franczek firm, which has been paid more than $1 million since the Emanuel administration to do the contract negotiations for the Board, took place after the Emanuel administration had failed in a last-minute attempt in Springfield to get the Illinois General Assembly to pass a law banning strikes by the Chicago Teachers Union completely. The Franczek firm has been the Boardâ€™s bargaining leaders, although two Board officials are usually at the bargaining table, too. CPS Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard has never been part of the bargaining, and CPS has never explained why it has to pay more than one million dollars for an outside law firm when CPS itself has an entire Law Department, with more than 40 lawyers on staff, at the Boardâ€™s Clark St. central offices.
The Franczek firmâ€™s attack on the CTU failed before the IELRB.
The IELRB rejected the motion from Brizard, noting that without evidence of cheating, there is no reason to take such a drastic step. As a result, their request has been rejected by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB).
On June 4, 2012, two days before the voting began in the city's more than 600 real public schools, CPS requested that the Labor Board to â€œadopt an emergency ruleâ€ to preserve voting documents and to allow CPS to have access to the Unionâ€™s voting documents and ballots.
The list of CPSâ€™ demands from a June 4, 2012 letter to the IELRB are below:
1. The governing documents for the strike authorization vote, including the â€œChicago Teachers Union Recommended Procedures and Rules for a Strike Authorization Voteâ€ or its equivalent.
2. The Official CTU Voter List or its equivalent.
3. A sample ballot.
4. The educational flyer provided to each member with the ballot explaining the reasons for the strike authorization vote and procedures following the vote.
5. All ballots segregated by the initial phase of voting and subsequent phases of voting.
6. All Official Daily Votersâ€™ Signature Lists for each school or alternate voting location.
7. All Master Signoff Sheets for each school or alternate voting location.
8. Any affidavits prepared to record persons listed as members on the Official CTU Voter List who are believed to be ineligible to vote due to death, retirement, resignation or other reason.
9. Documentation of the polling districts created for city-wide members and the individuals assigned to each polling district.
10. The list of members whose eligibility to vote was questioned and the decision of the Rules and Elections Committee as to each memberâ€™s eligibility.
11. The messenger services retained to deliver ballot boxes or envelopes to the location where the ballots will be tallied.
12. A list of the members of the Rules and Elections Committee, District Supervisors and any other individuals who participated in tallying the ballots.
13. The tally sheets for each school or alternate voting location.
14. All ballots not counted during the tallying process (e.g., spoiled ballots).
15. The list of non-voting members generated following the initial phase of balloting.
16. A list of the members of the Rules and Elections Committee and all officers and individuals who participated in the determination as to the percentage of members who voted to authorize a strike out of the total membership.
17. The names of every member who was personally contacted or who attempts were made to personally contact and given the opportunity to vote after the initial phase of balloting.
18. The names of every CTU representative who personally contacted or who attempted to personally contact a non-voting member and the manner in which the contact was made.
19. A comprehensive summary of the means or efforts that were used to contact the individuals described in Paragraph 16, including the number of attempts made to contact each individual.
20. Any other document that was published, used or generated during the vote (electronic or otherwise) that is not covered by the above categories.
â€œThe above detail is necessary for at least two reasons. Section 13(b)(2.10) establishes a stringent requirement based both on voter eligibility and the requisite vote thresholdâ€”(1) all CTU members have the right to vote and must affirmatively vote to engage in a strike otherwise his or her failure to vote is a â€œnoâ€ vote and (2) 75% of all CTU members must affirmatively vote to engage in the strike thus voter eligibility is crucial to deciding the validity of the vote. Finally, given the high stakes of a strike in the city of Chicago, a strike should only occur if in fact the standard established by the General Assembly and agreed upon by the CTU has been satisfied, and the requested emergency preservation order is the only means to this end.â€
IELRB rejects CPS attempt to poison the process further
Below is the Labor Boardâ€™s response to CPS which was quick and decisive:
June 5, 2012
VIA FACSIMILE AND FIRST CLASS MAIL
300 S. Wacker Drive. Suite 3400
Chicago. IL 60606-6785
Dear Ms. Donovan:
I have received the Chicago Board of Education's request that the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) engage in emergency rule-making and issue an emergency preservation order for all documents published, used or generated during a strike authorization vote to be conducted by the Chicago Teachers Union, The Chicago Teachers Union has responded to your request.
There does not appear to be a situation justifying emergency rule-making, See 5 ILCS 10015-45(a): County of DuPage v. ILRB, 358 Ill.App.3d 174, 830 N.E.2d 709 (2005). The IELRB anticipates filing a regulatory agenda by July 1, 2012 to effectuate the new provisions of Public Acts 97-0007 and 97-0008. The initial rule-making meeting was held this year, and both in-house and outside legal counsel for the Chicago Board of Education, as well as legal counsel for the Chicago Teachers Union, were present. The response from the constituent groups in the field was to begin the rule-making process on July 1, 2012. The Chicago Board of Education, as well as the Chicago Teachers Union, will be invited to continue participating in the IELRB's rule-making process, Consequently, I must deny your request.
Victor Blackwell, Executive Director