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Board of Trustees v. College Teachers Union

SEPTEMBER 25, 1974.

THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF JUNIOR COLLEGE DISTRICT NO. 508, COUNTY OF COOK, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

THE COOK COUNTY COLLEGE TEACHERS UNION, LOCAL 1600, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. DONALD J. O'BRIEN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DIERINGER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The defendants, the Cook County College Teachers Union, Local 1600, et al., appeal from an order entered on August 6, 1973, in the Circuit Court of Cook County, granting summary judgment for the plaintiff, Board of Trustees of Junior College District No. 508. The order modified a prior award in favor of the Union in an arbitration proceeding between the parties.

The issues presented for review are whether the court had authority to modify the arbitration award based on a ground that the arbitrator exceeded his authority, and whether the arbitrator's award of back pay to certain members of the Union for which no services were required to be performed was an illegal expenditure because it constituted a gift of public funds.

The parties have been involved in a collective bargaining relationship since 1967. The Union's grievance, filed on June 11, 1971, alleged the Board had violated the provisions of Article VIII of the collective bargaining agreement, which established a procedure for equalizing the distribution of extra work assignments among the faculty. It provided for teachers to work on a rotational basis so that every teacher received an equal opportunity to perform extra work. In the summer of 1971, certain teachers were passed over in favor of other teachers who were behind them on the rotational scale. These teachers, who were passed over, filed a grievance which was ultimately arbitrated before the American Arbitration Association as provided by the agreement.

The arbitrator expressly found the teachers could be made whole only by receiving retroactive compensation for the income lost to them during the 1971 summer session as a result of the Board's failure to comply with its contractual obligations.

On June 23, 1973, the Board made application to the Circuit Court of Cook County for declaratory relief and modification of the arbitrator's award, and on August 6, 1973, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the Board and modified the arbitrator's award by directing the teachers be required to perform extra work in the future instead of receiving back pay with no obligation to perform extra work.

The defendants first contend the lower court was without authority to modify the arbitration award because there was no showing the arbitrator decided questions that were not submitted to him, or that the award was obtained by fraud or misconduct. By implication they are contending that an arbitration award pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement cannot be modified because the arbitrator exceeded his power.

The conditions for vacating or modifying an arbitration award are set forth in section 12 of the Uniform Arbitration Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 10, § 112) which provides in part:

"(a) Upon application of a party, the court shall vacate an award where:

(1) The award was procured by corruption, fraud or other undue means;

(2) There was evident partiality by an arbitrator appointed as a neutral or corruption in any one of the arbitrators or misconduct prejudicing the rights of any party;

(3) The arbitrators exceeded their powers;

However, subsection (e) provides that these grounds for modification do not apply to collective bargaining agreements, and that one must look to prior law to ascertain the grounds:

"(e) Nothing in this Section or any other Section of this Act shall apply to the vacating, modifying, or correcting of any award entered as a result of an arbitration agreement which is a part of or pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement; and the grounds for vacating, modifying, or correcting ...


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