Symposium to discuss collective bargaining

By Maria Tortorello

Both sides in a quarrel over collective bargaining will present their views today at NIU.

NIU’s College of Law and the bar associations of Du Page, Kane, Peoria and Winnebago Counties are sponsoring a labor law symposium, which will begin at 9 a.m. in Swen Parson Hall.

Representatives from Caterpillar, Inc., the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will be taking part in the symposium.

Speaking at the forum will be NLRB General Counsel Jerry Hunter, Jerry Brust, the corporate labor relations director for Caterpillar, UAW Legal Counsel Harold Katz and attorney Cheryl Blackwell Bryson.

“The symposium will focus on the major issues for collective bargaining in the 1990s,” said Lorraine Schmall, an NIU labor law professor.

The issues which will be addressed include cutting health care, making the work place safer and mandatory retirement.

According to Schmall, employees from Caterpillar Inc. went on strike recently because of unfair labor practices.

“Brust is supposed to be one of the hardest managers in the country,” Schmall said. “The unions consider him to be the hardest manager in the country.”

The employees returned to work six weeks ago on temporary

terms. “The problem is still not solved,” Schmall said.

At the forum, Brust will discuss how social concerns, demographics and new laws have an effect on collective bargaining for large employers.

Katz will present the union side on how collective bargaining has been influenced by workplace legislation, economic trends and social concerns.

Hunter represents the neutral government branch of the forum. He charged Brust with unfair labor.

Bryson will present legal, environmental and social issues concerning employees’ health and safety concerns. Safety concerns include the new Americans with Disabilities Act and health care cost containment plans.

“We have a dynamic mix of government, management and labor perspectives and should have a wide-ranging and provocative

session,” Schmall said.

The fees for attending the symposium are $45 for general registration, $35 for members of sponsoring organizations and $15 for full-time students. For more information call 1-800-345-9472 or 753-0277.