By Ann Marie Shambaugh
A state-appointed examiner ruled March 14 that Carmel Clay Schools did not commit any unfair labor practices as alleged by the Carmel Clay Education Association, the exclusive representative of CCS teachers.
The ruling paves the way for another Indiana Education Employment Relations Board ruling that could come later this month. IEERB will decide whether CCS teachers can hold a vote to decertify CCEA and replace it with the Carmel Teachers Association. All parties have two weeks to file an exception to the unfair labor practice ruling, which would trigger a review by the IEERB board and likely delay the second ruling.
CCEA filed the unfair labor practice complaint in August 2016, alleging that CCS violated state law when its legal counsel presented an update regarding decertification of a teachers union at a March 2016 school board meeting, spoke with teacher and CTA organizer Michelle Foutz during school hours to discuss performance stipends, met with CCEA officials to discuss complaints from teachers about CCEA activity and allowed CTA to use school property to communicate with teachers during school time.
The ruling addresses each allegation and finds that CCS did not act in an unfair manner regarding any of them.
It states that the school board presentation took place years after the formation of CTA and did not assist in creating the group. It also states that when Foutz discussed stipends with CCS she did not speak on behalf of CTA or represent other teachers.
Hearing examiner Noell F. Allen stated in the ruling that CCS made the correct decision in addressing concerns by teachers who said they felt “harassed” by the actions of CCEA members.
“An employer has an obligation to ensure employees work in a harassment-free environment,” the ruling states. “In fact, an employer who remains complicit in allowing a labor union to operate in this discriminatory manner could also incur liability in a civil suit.”
The ruling also states that CCS notified CTA members that they could not use school email to communicate, and as such “did not assist or provide support to CTA.”
This story will be updated.