Allen East teacher’s union files second unfair labor practice charge

By John Bush -

HARROD — The Allen East Education Association has filed its second unfair labor practice charge against the Allen East Local Board of Education, nearly three months after a state employment organization found probable cause that the board unfairly implemented a collective bargaining agreement.

The charge alleges the school board violated the Ohio Revised Code when one of its members took action against an Allen East Education Association member who served as the union’s crisis chairperson during the current labor dispute.

According to a news release, the event stems from June 1 and is a violation of state law because of the board’s “interference, restraint or coercion of employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed to employee unions and union members.”

Katherine Kidwell, past president of the Allen East Education Association, said she could not discuss the allegation until the State Employment Relations Board conducts a hearing regarding the unfair labor practice charge.

“We’re hoping SERB will hear this ULP as it did with the ULP the Allen East Education Association filed concerning unfair bargaining,” Kidwell said. “Until the board makes that decision, I cannot speak to that” allegation.

Earlier this year, SERB found “probable cause” in the ULP charge filed against the school board because of its “unilateral implementation of the collective bargaining agreement.” Terms of the agreement included a 1 percent increase in pay for the district’s teachers.

In a previous statement sent to The Lima News, the education association’s spokeswoman Terri Spencer said she and other members rejected the motion.

“It seems as though we are being punished for doing a great job,” Spencer wrote. “Money is not really the issue. The issue is respect. Obviously, this Board has no respect for their teachers.”

After SERB’s ruling, the teacher’s union and the school board appeared to have reached a settlement. A “notice to employees” sent by SERB stated a settlement agreement was reached June 12. According to the notice, the board agreed it would bargain collectively “in good faith” with the Allen East Education Association, and that it would not “interfere with, restrain or coerce employees” in the exercise of their right to collectively bargain.

When asked how the latest ULP charge would affect the settlement, Kidwell said she could not discuss the matter other than to say it is “in the hands of the lawyers.”

Allen East Superintendent Mel Rentschler and school board President Kevin Dues were not immediately available for comment.

By John Bush

Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima.

Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima.

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