Union Says “Just Cause” Can Be Negotiated

The Galesburg Education Association contends that there is still an opportunity for teachers to get their way on a big remaining sticking point in what are largely considered stalled contract negotiations.

Union members used a press conference Friday to contend that their desire to have their way in terms of “just cause” for teacher dismissal and evaluations can indeed be done.

A new state-mandated model uses a teacher ranking system, without much regard to experience and tenure.

The district has all but said the issue can’t be negotiated, but GEA Spokesperson Tami Qualls says it can be.

“Most of the district’s surrounding us that are in the large unit district association we have Peoria 150, we have Moline, we have many Quad Cities schools that have recall rights and have just cause in their contracts,” says Qualls. “If they were not legal, they would not be there.”

Union members say overall, they, too, agree that tenure reform needs to be made. They’re concerned that tenure reform could come in the middle of any new contract, and they want some protections in place now against that.

The union also said today despite originally-published reports to the contrary, a complaint made with the Illinois Labor Relations Board accusing the district of unfair labor practices is, in fact, NOT a lawsuit.

They claim the district used the media to bring out contract offers before they could be negotiated. District Superintendent Bart Arthur declined to comment.

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