Board to hear case against Downstate public housing authority

SPRINGFIELD — An Illinois panel is expected to hear a case against a troubled public housing authority facing allegations of unfair labor.

The charge was filed in June by the Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 773 after Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson moved to end the collective bargaining agreement between the Alexander County Housing Authority and the union, The Southern Illinoisan reported. The union had been representing all full-time employees of the local housing authority.

Towanda Macon, a member of HUD’s ACHA recovery team, informed employees their employment with the housing authority would end, and that the contract no longer covered the terms of their employment, according to the charge.

The charge says that the decision came following an agreement to proceed to mediation to assist efforts to reach a new agreement. It alleges that the housing authority “failed and refused to bargain in good faith.”

Jereon Brown, a spokesman for the HUD, has said that the decision was warranted by the fact that the authority’s finances were seriously troubled, and that the agency couldn’t afford to pay the salaries and benefits agreed to in the 7-year-old contract.

Records obtained by the newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act show that Kimberly Stevens, the executive director of the Illinois Labor Relations Board, moved to have the complaint heard after determining the state panel has jurisdiction over the matter. The case is expected to go before the board sometime next year.

–Associated Press

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