SPRINGFIELD - After a maneuver behind the scenes in the Illinois House Wednesday, heads are shaking Thursday. A simple proposal that would allow public access to teacher strike settlement information was reportedly stymied by House members on both sides of the aisle.
Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), who has a background in municipal government, introduced HB 2689, amending the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act.
Partially as a response to recent teacher's union strikes and associated negotiations, Ives proposed a more open process for the public settlement information. Her idea was that once an agreement is reached between a public or educational employer and its employees regarding the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, the agreement would be published on the website of the public or educational employer.
The bill also required the public or educational employer to hold an open public meeting on the ratification of that agreement within 14 days.
Representative Ives was prepared to bring her bill before the State Government Administration Committee Wednesday, but was told that a group of bi-partisan House leaders told committee chairman Rep Jack Franks (D-McHenry) to "kill the bill" and not allow it to be read in committee. Ives says Franks told her he would allow the bill to be heard despite House leadership comments. Ives added Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) as a co-sponsor,
When Ives' bill was heard in committee Wednesday, it was soundly defeated by committee members likely influenced by the teachers' unions.
For the Good of Illinois' Adam Andrzejewski was audibly disgusted when he heard the outcome of Ives' bill.
"Rep. Ives effort to make a strike settlement transparent at a minimum is worthwhile public policy," he said. "I also oppose the concept of holding strike negotiations behind closed doors while holding students hostage."
The public should demand to know what they are paying for, he said. Only union officials would oppose the public knowing exactly what they would be paying as a result of strike negotiations.
Of the committee's 12 Democrats and 8 Republicans, 14 voted no and 6 voted yes -