The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 6, 2013

DEA members vote to merge bargaining groups


DANVILLE — The Danville Education Association membership gave about 98 percent approval Friday to merge its two bargaining units into one unit.

The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board conducted the vote on the merger petition Friday at Danville High School’s Dick Van Dyke Auditorium. About 400 members voted, according to DEA President Robin Twidwell.

The majority of both bargaining units — one for the teachers and teaching assistants and one for secretaries and learning resource clerks — needed to agree to the merger before it could become official and their two contracts could be negotiated concurrently.

The DEA received word on Feb. 22 that the labor board ruled in favor of the union that had filed a petition Aug. 1 to merge the two bargaining units into one unit.

The ruling ended a months-long dispute between Danville School District 118 and the DEA over how the two contracts should be negotiated.

The union had been seeking to bargain the two contracts — one for teachers and teaching assistants and the other for secretaries and learning resource clerks — concurrently, as it had done in the past. District 118, however, wanted to create two separate negotiating teams to negotiate the contracts separately.

The labor board’s ruling and Friday’s vote by the DEA membership will change the way teachers’ and secretaries’ contracts are negotiated from here on out.

The current contracts, which cover a total of 449 certified employees and 206 noncertified employees, expired June 30.

Now that the vote has been taken, the two sides should resume bargaining sessions with a federal mediator.