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Board of Jr. College v. Cook County T. Union

JUNE 26, 1970.

BOARD OF JUNIOR COLLEGE DISTRICT NO. 508, COUNTY OF COOK AND STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

COOK COUNTY COLLEGE TEACHERS UNION, LOCAL 1600, AND NORMAN G. SWENSON, PRESIDENT, DAVID SIMONSON, ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT, HOWARD A. JAMES, VICE PRESIDENT, LEON NOVAR, MEMBER OF NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE, AS INDIVIDUALS, AS OFFICERS OF SAID UNION AND AS MEMBERS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CLASS OF MEMBERS OF SAID UNION, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. DANIEL A. COVELLI, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE LEIGHTON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

This appeal is from an order finding defendants Cook County College Teachers Union, Local 1600 (hereafter called Union) and its president, Norman G. Swenson, guilty of contempt of court and imposing sentences of $5,000 fine on Union, $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail on Swenson.

For reversal, defendants contend that (1), the order exceeded the trial court's jurisdiction because it was based on a void temporary injunction; (2), the injunction order was erroneous; therefore, no judgment of contempt could be predicated on it; (3), the trial court erred in denying their petition for change of venue; (4), the trial judge arbitrarily selected defendant Swenson for punishment solely because he was president of Union; (5), much of the evidence was erroneously admitted, over objection and to defendants' prejudice; and (6), they were not proven guilty of contempt as required by law.

After this appeal was docketed, two labor organizations: Chicago Federation of Labor and Industrial Union Council (AFL-CIO), Joint Council No. 25, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, etc., were granted leave to appear as Amici Curiae, seeking reversal. In their brief, the Amici argue a point which forms one of defendants' arguments: that the trial court erred in denying Board's motion to dissolve the temporary injunction.

Plaintiff in this controversy, Board of Junior College District No. 508, County of Cook (hereafter called Board), operates junior colleges in the Chicago area under the authority of the Public Junior College Act, Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 122, § 101-1, et seq. In November 1966, Board had eight campuses, a total enrollment of about 34,505 students and a full-time teaching staff of approximately 665 teachers. By statute it was Board's duty to appoint teachers, determine their salaries, establish tenure, provide for teacher removal for cause, prepare and adopt budgets to administer the colleges on its campuses. On October 11, 1966, Board recognized Union as the exclusive representative of the full-time faculty with academic rank employed by Board, except deans, assistant deans, and central administration employees. Thereafter, Board and Union, through committees, began negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement.

November 30, 1966, Board filed a complaint for declaratory judgment and injunction alleging that Union and its members were threatening Board with a strike or concerted withholding of services, illegal acts which would violate the public policy of the state. Board prayed for a decree declaring that Union and its members could not advocate, induce or encourage any employee of Board to strike or engage in concerted withholding of services from Board in support of Union's proposals or to picket Board for the purpose of inducing a strike or withholding of services. On Board's application the day suit was filed, a temporary injunction issued restraining Union "[f]rom participating in, or causing, inducing or encouraging, any strike or other concerted withholding of service, or interference with the performance of service, by any employee of plaintiff, or from picketing, parading or patrolling at or in the vicinity of the junior college campuses maintained and operated by plaintiff for the purposes of inducing such strike or other concerted withholding of services."

Defendant Swenson knew of the injunction order the day it issued, although he did not receive or see a copy of it. That evening, November 30, Union held a meeting of its membership attended by more than 400 of Board's faculty. Swenson spoke. Members of Union, employees of Board, went on strike November 30 and picketed Board's campuses December 1 and 2, 1966, and on January 6, 1967. During this period, Swenson was seen either picketing or at the scene of picketing of Board's offices or campuses.

December 20, 1966, the attorney who represented Board moved to dissolve the temporary injunction. With the motion was presented a written stipulation between Board and Union which purported to settle their dispute. The trial judge refused to grant Board's motion. Instead, he directed Board's attorney to prepare and file a petition for a rule on Union, Swenson and its other officers to show cause why they failed to comply with the temporary injunction. The petition was filed December 21; and a rule issued that day.

January 3, 1967, the attorney for Board filed a petition alleging that because Board had requested dissolution of the temporary injunction and the trial judge had ordered a petition for a rule on Union and its officers, he was placed "in a position of potential conflict of interest" which required appointment by the court of special counsel to present evidence in support of the rule. The court took the petition under advisement until January 9.

In the meantime, the trial judge requested but the State's Attorney of Cook County declined to proceed with the rule against Union and its officers, saying it was a civil matter. Then on January 9, 1967, the trial judge appointed John P. Coghlan, a member of the Illinois Bar, Amicus Curiae to investigate and report the facts and circumstances surrounding the conduct of Union and its officers "[c]oncerning any violation of the injunction of this court entered on November 30, 1966." The Amicus Curiae was directed to make a recommendation "[i]n connection herewith, to dismiss the rule to show cause heretofore entered or for leave to file such amendments thereto as he believes necessary."

On April 3, 1967 the Amicus Curiae filed a written report in which he recommended that an amended rule issue only against Union and Swenson "ordering and directing that they and each of them answer said amended rule to show cause within a date to be fixed by the court." The rule issued on April 3, returnable May 22, 1967. On May 1, defendants answered the rule. Then, on May 12, defendants were allowed to amend their answer to include allegations that, effective January 1, 1967, the parties entered into a collective bargaining agreement to expire December 31, 1968. On May 22, 1967, the court heard the testimony of four witnesses called by the Amicus who, in addition, offered ten exhibits which were admitted. Defendants did not present any evidence. At the conclusion of the hearing, Union and Swenson were found guilty of contempt.

This finding, defendants contend, must be reversed because it was based on an unconstitutional and void temporary injunction. To support this contention defendants, with forcefulness and in great detail, raise questions concerning the sufficiency of the pleadings, Article II of the Illinois Constitution, the provisions of the First, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, and which require construction of the Illinois Anti-Injunction Act, Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 48, § 2a.

[1-4] Despite the vigor with which they are urged, these questions are not before us. The trial court had jurisdiction over the cause because the complaint alleged facts which presented a justiciable matter. Ill Rev Stats 1965, Const Art 6, § 9. In this day, the Illinois Anti-Injunction Act cannot be construed to take away the jurisdiction of a circuit court to decide whether a temporary injunction shall issue. Whether the trial court rightfully or erroneously granted the temporary injunction, and whether the injunction order was constitutionally permissible are questions that cannot be litigated in a contempt proceeding. Cummings-Landau Co. v. Koplin, 386 Ill. 368, 54 N.E.2d 462; City of Chicago v. King, 86 Ill. App.2d 340, 230 N.E.2d 41 and cases there cited. Therefore, since the trial court had jurisdiction of the subject matter and of ...


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