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Rockford Education Association staff members’ rights provided under current contract

Article 14, Section A of the REA contract prohibits any discrimination by the Board or administration against any staff member because of membership in the Association.

Any rights granted in this agreement is in addition to state statute or constitution, which allows Association member’s retirement to be paid by the district taxpayers, even though state law allows that the staff members should pay their own pension costs. More on that later.

Members may be represented by a counselor of his or her own chosing for all conferences related to transfer, demotion, suspension or dismissal. If counselor is requested, the conference must take place within 10 days of notification??

Any material placed in a personnel file requires 24 hour notification of staff member in writing, and any response by staff member must be attached to complaint for inclusion in the file.

The staff member is indemified and the board must pay to defend Association staff members of the school district against death and bodily injury, claims and suits, including the defense in court of said employee, when damages are sought for negligent or wrongful acts alleged to have been committed in the scope of employment by the employee.

Appearances in court in connection with these lawsuits will not result in the loss of wages or accumulated leave for the staff member. “Even if member is found guilty?”

ARTICLE 15 – STAFF FACILITIES

The Board and the Association mutually recognize the importance of the continuous use of adequate staff reference materials in maintaining a high level of professional performance.

In furtherance of that recognition, the Board shall endeavor to make such materials available to the schools. Each secondary school will have designated areas, apart from students, for use as a staff dining room. A minimum of one lounge, appropriately furnished, will be provided in each secondary building. Each elementary and middle school will have designated areas, appropriately furnished and apart from students, for use as a staff dining room and/or lounge.

Provisions for male and female lavatories, staff dining room, and staff lounge in the secondary; staff dining room and/or lounge in elementary and middle schools will be provided for in every future building, and in any renovation of existing buildings.

And of course, all district facilities will be tobacco free. Telephone facilities shall be made available to staff members for their reasonable use, and if confidential surroundings are required, they shall be supplied.

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19 Comments

  1. readingmike94

    Ted seriously how can you continue to write this when you are on a board that has an agreement with a union that has similar union contract language. You make it seem like the REA is the only union that has these provisions in its contract. You want people to be outraged and rise up and protest etc yet when you are called out to do likewise we get nothing from you. You are “respect” as a budget analyst yet the institution you help oversee has budget difficulties and the same issues district 205 has and where is your insight to help correct the problem where are your recommendations? You made a huge deal about harlem school board and when you are called out on it we get look in the phone book? seriously ted this is a republic why then wasnt look in the phone book good enough for harlem ? where is the outrage from curt newport about being accessible? you call out others and cant take the heat. i am just saying i find it very hypercritical

  2. readingmike94

    as for the blog thing maybe if i wrote the paper and had a column they would give me a blog so people would read my blog and use up their 15 free views. the point is ted has a blog is writing and instead of looking at big issues etc he is acting like applesauce cut and paste etc and no analysis or context of the union language we are all suppose to have a knee jerk reaction ted doesnt suggest changes he doesnt say what we are suppose to do about it etc he is on rvc board so what is he doing about his own contract language?? if the point is outrage and protest to board members number one we cant protest to ted because his information is not available and number 2 he doesnt suggest alternatives

  3. Ted Biondo

    What is important readingmike94 is the parts of the contract I am chosing to cut and paste, if you had not figured that out yet. Plus there are comments.

    The biggest language being that the administration should have the power to chose the school where their employees teach, not the union – isn’t mthat so obvious that I don’s have to offer an alternative.

    The alternative is to change the contract! The same for the rest of the issues.

  4. Denny Wallace

    Article 14 comments and my subjective opinions…

    Section A: Every staff member is endowed with the right to be free… etc, etc… Section A has no business being in the Contract…

    What the hell is going on here? Do we need to restate the US Constitution and countless Labor Laws? How much time was wasted arguing about DAAAAA Yea Teachers are covered by the Biil of Rights and all State and federal Laws!

    Section B: Every staff member has the right to fair and equitable
    treatment and accordingly shall not be acted against except for just cause. The Board agrees that discipline will be designed to improve, not merely punish, where an act or omission is deemed by the Board to be remediable under 105 ILCS 5/10-22.4. etc, etc…

    There is a Legal hurdle implied with the term “Just Cause” versus just using “Cause.” i.e. You can be fired for “CAUSE” is not the same as being fired for “JUST CAUSE”…

    It’s like being guilty of a crime and “found guility beyond any possible reasonable doubt in a court of law.”

    The time consuming, costly process to prove “Just Cause” that is subject an arbritrator over ruling… is a substantial concern and shouldn’t be understated… and yes I know Employees have a right for fair treatment but when the deck is stacked against the School District… “Just Cause” requirement above and beyond Legal Employment Laws, arcane protection of Teacher Tenure … Is this just one more means for the teacher Union to control the outcome of the game?

    Fyi here the school code link referenced…

    (105 ILCS 5/10?22.4) (from Ch. 122, par. 10?22.4)
    Sec. 10?22.4. Dismissal of teachers. To dismiss a teacher for incompetency, cruelty, negligence, immorality or other sufficient cause, to dismiss any teacher who fails to complete a 1?year remediation plan with a “satisfactory” or better rating and to dismiss any teacher whenever, in its opinion, he is not qualified to teach, or whenever, in its opinion, the interests of the schools require it, subject, however, to the provisions of Sections 24?10 to 24?15, inclusive. Temporary mental or physical incapacity to perform teaching duties, as found by a medical examination, is not a cause for dismissal. Marriage is not a cause of removal.
    (Source: P.A. 85?248.) http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=010500050HArt%2E+10&ActID=1005&ChapterID=17&SeqStart=54400000&SeqEnd=76900000

  5. Denny Wallace

    Why is any of the following contract language necessary?

    Section C: Every staff member shall have the right to have all
    conferences (Daaa Yea they have a Union so of course they can have a Union Rep present if they chose to)

    Section D: Every staff member shall have the right to examine in the
    presence of the person responsible for the files, the contents of the staff member’s building and the central office personnel files (I can’t believe anyone every allowed such nonsense into the contract… Yea employees have rights to review employment files that affect their employment… But forget putting into the contract… But just my opinion)

    Section E: A staff member shall examine all material of an evaluative
    nature to be placed in his/her personnel file prior to its inclusion in the file. (I tell the Union to go to Hell… I’ll put anything I want into my files whenever I chose to)

    Section F: No action against a staff member shall be taken on the
    basis of a complaint by any individual or group, nor any notice thereof shall be included in the staff member’s personnel file unless the matter is first reported to the staff member in writing. (Again, commonsense logic and a good employment practice but such a statement has no business being in the labor Agreement… But hey just my opinion) Same with Section G… totaly unnecessary…

    Section H: The Illinois School Code provides (then why in the hell restate it in the Labor Agreement?)

    Section I: Appearances in court in connection with lawsuits covered
    by the Illinois School Code will not result in loss of wages (Again commonsense but you don’t need to state same in a Professionals Employee Labor Agreement…)

    Then what’s up with this little ditty of a contract langauge?
    “… Grievance or arbitration hearings shall not be scheduled during school hours unless parties mutually agree….” (Why state the obvious… of course grievance meetings and arbitrations require “mutual agreement.”

    Oh so Sad we even need to see such Contract Language as Section J

    “…Whenever a staff member is absent from school as a result of physical incapacitation, hospitalization, or resulting court appearances and/or legal consultation caused by assault and/or battery of a staff member …said staff member shall not be charged personal illness leave or personal leave for such absences, … solely related to the assault in question. …”

    Yet doesn’t Workers Compensation guidelines cover this? + What about better then expected treatment of employees injured at work?

  6. Denny Wallace

    Section A – the Board shall endeavor to make such materials available to the schools. (Who decides what is needed and what’s not… Dumb langguage in the contract probably comeing from pre-computer days… drop it)

    Section B: Each secondary school will have designated areas, apart
    from students, for use as a staff dining room. (Duplicates federal and state Law… Drop it as total overkill)

    Section C – Come on gang… Do we really need Contract Language telling us secretarial services in a school building should be made available to Teachers? How far have we fallen from commonsense?

    Section D, E, F, G, H, I, J CAN ANYONE SUGGEST SUCH CONTRACT LANGUAGE IS NECESSARY IN A 21ST CENTURY SCHOOL?

    Please see
    http://www2.rps205.com/District/Documents/CollectiveBargainingAgreements/RockfordEducation.pdf

  7. SNuss

    Denny sez: “Why is any of the following contract language necessary? ”

    Answer: Because lawyers are involved, and the more complicated the contract language, the more that they get paid.

  8. readingmike94

    hey denny why dont you look at the rvc faculty contract and complain about that??? look into other district’s contracts and complain about that? heck why not look into the nfl player’s contract? what would you propose for rights of employees?

  9. Denny Wallace

    ReadingMike… Same rights most every other employee in the USA has?

    Why should Teachers be treated any different?

    Instead of taunts… How about try to support your opinions?

  10. Denny Wallace

    Ted why so “black-n-white” on this?

    “…The biggest language being that the administration should have the power to chose the school where their employees teach, not the union …”

    POWER? I thought Teachers are a partnership with the School Administration? I know your comments may be taken out of context when I say … Sounds alot like US against THEM! Does such an attitude lead to anywhere we really want to be headed?

    Can’t Teachers be allowed serious Seniority Rights yet they don’t conflict with the mission of “It’s About The Kids You Know!”

    All I ask is for a serious dose of commonsense considering the arcane State required tenure Notice requirements + equally restrictive (if not even more burdensome) Teacher Union Seniority Provisions, posting rights and timelines to include grievances that can delay action for several weeks (months?)….

    Yet we got to staff Schools within a 2-3 month window between when notices go out and Teacher Union Contract language dictates the timeline to complete the mindboggling game of Teacher Musical Chairs…

    I agree, the School Administration should have the authority to make the decision when Teachers Seniority Rights can be accommodated AND WHEN THEY MUST BE DELAYED UNTIL THE START OF A NEW SCHOOL YEAR … Because it’s in the best interests of our Schools and our kids!

    i.e. Ted I object to the term “Power to” and sure hope you mean “authority to make the decision when to accommodate Teacher Seniority Rights and when they must be delayed…” Doesn’t this accomplish the same end results?

  11. readingmike94

    are we saying quality of education has declined because staff have a lunchroom? have scores decreased on standardized tests because staff have a telephone? does having a 24 hour notice of something placed in your personal file mean that students are not prepared for college? when they are debating educational reform in the halls of congress are they looking at provisions that ted has discussed in this and other blogs?
    where is the evidence that districts having the power to place staff has lead to an increase in standardized test scores? where is the support that by having the authority to place staff has meant that districts perform better? in the old wendy’s add they said where is the beef? i would ask ted where is the beef to support all these postings. it may bother your conservative dander but does removing these provisions lead to increase performance on standardized measures/assessments? until the evidence is provided i say i am willing to accept our current system faults and all if it means we score a few points less on the NEAP because staff has a restroom so be it

  12. readingmike94

    in terms of staff being placed so we are ok with having baseball players who are 5 and 10 being able to decline a trade but it is not ok for teachers? when you look at your job does the new guy get the pick of holidays he or she wants to work or do they give those options first to the people who have been there a while? when you look at your job the yucky parts do the people who have been there awhile have to do those jobs or does the rookie do that? really when you move up the corporate ladder and you get perks ie travel etc do they take the new guys or do the people who are established in the company get to go? you conservatives it is what makes america we get a job and we move our way up there are incentives for working being with a company you get the perks we dont make it socialist or have touchy feeling and not want to hurt anybody’s feelings we say ok new guy you get a bonus also you get the same perks as the guy who has been there 13 20 years

  13. Ted Biondo

    Denny Wallace #10 – “Ted I object to the term “Power to” and sure hope you mean “authority to make the decision when to accommodate Teacher Seniority Rights and when they must be delayed…” Doesn’t this accomplish the same end results?”

    You are absolutely correct. The word authority is the more correct terminology and the decisions should be made for the kids – absolutely correct.

  14. Ted Biondo

    readingmike 94 #11 – No what I’m pointing out is that these frivilous clauses have nothing to do with education, only union wishes to protect their members – not to do their job better – you must see that!

    There is plenty of evidence that the teachers choosing their assignments haven’t worked so let’s give the job back to the manangement of the district – at least to make it easier for the kids not the adults.

    Show me the evidence that by following this contract anything has helped the educational system.

  15. Denny Wallace

    As for me, i.e. in my OPINION… I simply want at least a little balance between the rights of the Teachers… School District… with a serious does of what’s best for the Students.

    In my reading of the contract and simply applying cause-n-effect commonsense to the application of Teacher Contract Language… Yea I have a big time problem with the Iron Fisted rule of the Teachers Union… and yes I agree with Ted way to much “frivilous contract language.”

    So ReadingMike… Again you propose one extreme in suggesting your conclusions… You offer zero opportunity for middle ground or compromise… It’s your way or the highway I guess.

    Yet in most every other Work Place besides Public Schools, Management has the “authority” to direct the operation, make decisions that balances the BEST interests of all involved… Compare that to the nonsense propagated by the Teacher Union Leadership?

    Even if Molly is a good person with good intentions, the end results have been a maddening US against THEM approach to highly skilled and educated people woirking together for the greatest benefits of the Community and all too often making it an after-thought — IT’S ABOUT THE KIDS YOU KNOW propaganda…

    Oh Yea Pro-Athlete’s get that 5-10 clause to deny a trade because there are only a few 100 Major League Baseball Jobs whereas there are Millions of Teaching Jobs that any Teacher could apply for if they don’t like how they are treated in their current job…

  16. SNuss

    On another subject (Federal bureaucratic idiocy), be careful if anyone brings rabbits to school for show-and-tell.

    USDA ‘Rabbit Police’ Stalking Magicians
    What happens when your photo is taken for the newspaper with your fluffy little bunny rabbit? Great publicity, right? Well, not if a U.S Department of Agriculture agent buys a copy of that paper! Enter the Rabbit Police!

    Read the rest at:
    http://bobmccarty.com/2011/05/25/usda-rabbit-police-stalking-magicians/

    I know, I know, it is just rabbits. But, it is a sign of how the bureaucratic mentality seeks to demonize small businesses with excessive regulation. Rabbits are just one small part of it.

  17. readingmike94

    see denny that is why nobody listens to you there are over 100 jobs in major league baseball as you say duh if each team has a roster of 24 players and there are more than four teams in each league the last i checked there are well over 100 jobs you and your overgeneralizations jeez

  18. Denny Wallace

    As I took you to task elsewhere… Missed seeing this here… You dropped out the word “FEW” 100… There are in fact 720-750 Major League Baseball Players….

    Although I would agree that is more then “FEW 100” I certainly never said 100…. + In the context I was commenting on I speaking to the number of “…Pro-Athlete’s get that 5-10 clause to deny a trade…” Yep there are only a FEW 100 (5-10 eligible) Major League players….

    Try accurately quoting what I said and try to include “context” it was said…

    But Hey oh grand Pooba of self-rightousness… My intention before I saw the above was to admit I MAY BE IN ERROR (but not certain however) to suggest Teachers can tell their Boss to go to hell… come in drunk to school and not get fired…

    I may be wrong because “accepted practice in Labor Law” is to allow discharge for JUST CAUSE assuming the following logic or steps are followed…

    “Just cause” discipline and discharge clauses. “Just cause” refers to standards of conduct that an employee must breach before being disciplined or discharged. Because “just cause” proceedings are subject to elaborate legal procedures, school boards should beware of language that expands the “just cause” concept too broadly to include probationary teachers, who are still being evaluated for their competency.

    One of the most outrageous examples took thirteen years of litigation and cost the Ann Arbor Public Schools district in excess of $350,000 in attorney fees and back pay for an exteacher who was imprisoned in Jackson for murder.

    An employer must be able to answer “yes” to all seven of the following questions in an arbitration hearing to successfully sustain a “just cause” discipline or discharge decision:

    #1 Did the employer forewarn the employee of possible disciplinary consequences of conduct?

    #2 Was the rule or directive involved reasonably related to the orderly, efficient operation of the business?

    #3 Before administering discipline, did the employer properly investigate to determine that the employee did violate or disobey the rule or directive?

    #4 Was the employer’s investigation done in a fair and impartial manner?

    #5 Through the investigation, did the employer obtain enough evidence to prove the employee was, in fact, in violation of the rule or directive?

    #6 Was the rule, directive, and penalty applied fairly and without discrimination?

    #7 Was the discipline applied reasonably related to the gravity of the offense and was the amount of discipline reasonable given the employee’s overall record?

    Some arbitrators have held that the standard of progressive discipline does not apply to certain offenses: alcohol on the job, theft, lying, cheating, and violations of criminal statutes reasonably related to the performance of the employer’s business operation.

    School boards and administrators should carefully follow the established sevenpoint test when building a case for the “just cause” discipline or discharge of a tenured teacher.

    Arbitrators are unlikely to uphold the discipline or discharge of an employee if the school district does not properly follow and document the steps showing “just cause.” School boards and administrators who adhere to the requirements for “just cause” will avoid unnecessarily costly and unfavorable arbitration rulings.

  19. Denny Wallace

    Yet sadly… All Bets may be off to even Fire a teacher for JUST CAUSE because the School District has allowed the following Contract Language…

    May appear harmless but I’ll explain at the end what it could be interpreted to mean…

    ARTICLE 14 – RIGHTS OF STAFF MEMBERS
    Section B:
    Every staff member has the right to fair and equitable treatment and accordingly shall not be acted against except for just cause.

    ARTICLE 32-DISCHARGE, DEMOTION AND/OR DEPRIVATION OF SALARY INCREMENT

    Discharge, demotion, other involuntary change in employment status, or deprivation of salary increments shall be for just cause and preceded by:

    1. The faithful execution of the evaluation procedure and the honoring of all rights included in this Agreement or applicable statutes.

    So what happens if the “faithful execution of the evaluation Procedure” has not yet been completed and the Teacher shows up Drunk for work…. or screams profanity at the Principal in front of a classroom of kids… Basically telling his Boss to go to hell or in obvious violation OF ALL SEVEN STEPS DESCRIBED ABOVE….

    Could this prohibit firing a teacher who deserved it? What real counter argument could the School District make to over come the clear language that states “….The faithful execution of the evaluation procedure and the honoring of all rights included in this Agreement or applicable statutes…..”

    Do you think the Teacher Union pulled one over on some past Amateur or naive School Board? YET WHO IS LEFT TO PAY THE PRICE?

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