Arguments in the unfair labor practice hearing between AFSCME and Unit 5 ended Monday. (Photo By Flickr user ssee-ming lee)
By Paul Morello
NORMAL - Testimony wrapped up Monday in the labor dispute between Unit 5 and the bus drivers and monitors union, AFSCME.
The hearing in front of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board was the conclusion to arguments started in August.
AFSCME has claimed Unit 5 didn't bargain in good faith when considering busing options after the drivers and monitors unionized. Unit 5 denies that claim.
Union representatives called AFSCME Council 31 Regional Director Kent Beauchamp to testify as a rebuttal witness Monday. He was asked about the timeline of negotiations between the school district and AFSCME.
He said the union offered Unit 5 a number of different busing proposals, but was told by the district that they were looking for a contract price that would rival First Student's proposal.
Unit 5 officials said First Student's offer was $1.5 million lower over three years than the union's proposal.
There will be no oral closing arguments in the case. Instead, written briefs must be submitted by Oct. 31.
"We do think we've made the points we needed to make a case," AFSCME spokeswoman Renee Nestler said.
There's no specific timeline on when a decision will be rendered after the closing briefs are submitted next month.
"I think everything has been presented and introduced into evidence," Unit 5 attorney Curt Richardson said. "It's obviously going to take some time. The record is very large and there were a number of witnesses introduced for each side, so (a decision) is probably going to take awhile, I would imagine."
McLean County Judge Scott Drawzewski granted an injunction in July to block Unit 5 from firing the drivers and monitors. A three-year contract with First Student is already underway.
Paul Morello can be reached at email@example.com.