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School of Labor and Employment Relations University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Illinois State Firefighter Arbitration School

The Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois hold two annual schools at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Grievance Arbitration Conference

The Grievance Arbitration Conference is held in the spring and is designed for beginners and veterans of grievance arbitration. Contract interpretation and discipline cases are discussed and taught through group based exercises. The program’s main feature is an actual discipline case, where participants engage in a simulated arbitration.

Interest Arbitration Institute

The Interest Arbitration Institute is held in the winter and is designed to benefit Illinois fire fighters of all levels of experience in collective bargaining from local union presidents, stewards and members of the bargaining committee. Topics include the duty to bargain under the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act; and the impasse provisions under Section 14 of the law. The class simulates collective bargaining and interest arbitration by using actual data from Illinois fire fighter collective bargaining agreements. Course participants are assigned to union and employer teams, and each team receives a packet of bargaining data to prepare for a simulated bargaining session. Participants are given a complex grid of data from 8-10 labor agreements, and must compare and contrast the data to information from a fictional CBA that applies to their employment. Throughout the class, the participants develop positions, negotiate competitively with a counterpart who has a incentive to keep contract costs low, and readjust their positions in light of data as to how they relate to other bargaining teams. Parties either settle, or present mock arbitration cases under the Final Offer provisions of Section 14.