APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. L.
SHELDON BROWN, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE SIMON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
The plaintiff, Board of Trustees of Community College District No. 508, County of Cook (hereafter "the Board"), has administrative authority over seven junior colleges in the City of Chicago. The defendant, Cook County Teachers Union, Local 1600, AFT AFL-CIO (hereafter "the Union"), is the collective bargaining representative of the full-time faculty members employed by the Board. The individual defendants are officers or bargaining representatives of the Union.
This is an interlocutory appeal pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 307 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 110A, par. 307) from orders entered by the circuit court during a strike by faculty members against the public junior colleges. The orders are: (i) a temporary restraining order entered on August 25, 1975; (ii) a further order entered on September 4, 1975, extending the temporary restraining order entered on August 25, 1975, to the close of court on September 9, 1975; (iii) an order entered on September 4, 1975, finding the individual defendants in contempt of the temporary restraining order entered on August 25, 1975, and imposing fines against the Union; (iv) an order entered on September 9, 1975, denying the oral and written motions of the defendants for a change of venue; and (v) a preliminary injunction entered on September 9, 1975, restraining the strike. The defendants also appealed from an order sentencing Norman G. Swenson, president of the Union, to a 5-month jail term, but the parties now agree that this appeal is moot, Mr. Swenson having been granted a pardon by Governor Daniel Walker.
The Board filed a verified complaint on August 25, 1975, alleging that the strike had begun that morning and was continuing. The complaint recited that the strike was causing irreparable injury by making it impossible for the colleges to operate. The Board sought a permanent injunction against the Union, its officers and members restraining them from striking. With the filing of the complaint, the Board filed a motion for a temporary restraining order based on the complaint plus the allegation that the irreparable injury caused by the strike "is occurring and will occur before a trial can be had."
At 9:50 a.m. on August 25, the attorney for the Board telephoned the attorney for the Union to inform him of the filing of the action, and that the Board would appear before the chancery assignment judge to request the assignment of the case to a judge of the chancery division of the circuit court so that a motion for a temporary restraining order could be presented. The Union's attorney asked the Board's attorney to let him know the name of the judge to which the case was assigned, and told him when advised he would appear in the judge's courtroom for the hearing on the temporary restraining order. The Board's attorney agreed to do so.
Shortly after 11 a.m., the Board's attorney presented the motion for the temporary restraining order to the judge to whom the cause had been assigned. The Board's attorney told the judge about his telephone conversation with the Union's attorney prior to the filing of the action, and that a second call was made to the Union's attorney to inform him of the name of the judge a few minutes before the motion was presented. After a brief discussion, the circuit court judge entered the temporary restraining order at 11:20 a.m., making it effective until 10 a.m. on September 4, 1975. The order restrained striking, concerted withholding of services or picketing.
The Union's attorney arrived in the courtroom a few minutes after the temporary restraining order was entered. He informed the judge that he had objections to the order. He stated that the order should not have been entered prior to his arrival and that no irreparable injury was shown because the chancellor of the colleges had stated publicly that the commencement of classes could be deferred until after Labor Day. The Union's attorney also represented to the court that the temporary restraining order was not in fact an order designed to preserve the status quo because the college chancellor had rejected a Union offer to keep the terms of the most recent contract in effect during the collective bargaining negotiations. He informed the judge that on a previous occasion on which these parties were involved in a similar dispute an injunction was conditioned on the temporary preservation of the working conditions provided for under the expired contract. The judge who entered the temporary restraining order in the present case informed the Union's counsel he would not act without a written motion.
The strike and supportive picketing continued unabated through the afternoon of August 27, 1975. That afternoon, counsel for the Board informed the judge that the Board wished to file a petition for a rule to show cause why the defendants should not be held in contempt for violating the temporary restraining order, and the judge scheduled a hearing for 10:30 a.m. on August 28. On the morning of August 28, the Board's attorney informed the judge that it appeared the dispute would be settled, and therefore the filing of the petition for a rule to show cause did not appear necessary. The court, concerned over defiance of its order, directed the Board to file the petition and set a hearing to be held on September 2, 1975. On that day, defendants filed a motion to dissolve the temporary restraining order and a response to the petition for a rule to show cause. The court then set a hearing for September 4 at 10 a.m. on the rule.
During the hearing on September 4, the trial court overruled defendants' motion to dissolve the temporary restraining order and chose to proceed with the hearing on the rule. However, at a convenient breaking point in that evidentiary hearing, a motion submitted by the Board to extend the temporary restraining order which, by its terms, expired at 10 a.m. that day, was argued, but no evidence was received in connection with the motion. At 12:50 p.m. on September 4, the trial court extended the temporary restraining order through September 9.
The trial court then found the Union, Mr. Swenson and the other Union officers guilty of contempt for disobeying the initial temporary restraining order. The Union was fined $1,000 for each day the strike had continued after entry of the temporary restraining order from August 25 to and including September 4, and $5,000 for every day commencing September 5 that the extended temporary restraining order was violated by the continuance of the strike. The question of sanctions against the individual defendants was deferred until September 9, the day the court fixed for a hearing on the issuance of a preliminary injunction.
On September 8, 1975, the Union filed a verified answer to the Board's complaint for an injunction, alleging that even if a public school teachers' strike was illegal, it did not follow that an injunction should automatically issue; rather the court should consider whether the employer acted in bad faith in its negotiations with the Union. The Union asserted that the Board had acted unreasonably, and prayed that in the event an injunction was entered, it should require the plaintiff to preserve the terms of the expired contract pending resolution of the dispute.
In support of its affirmative defense that the Board's failure to negotiate in good faith should preclude issuance of a preliminary injunction, the Union attempted to introduce evidence that the Board had used the temporary restraining order to bring about a deterioration in the working conditions of the faculty and undermine the bargaining position of the Union. The trial judge sustained objections to this evidence, ruling that the defendants' affirmative defense was irrelevant because the strike was illegal.
At the conclusion of the hearing on September 9, a preliminary injunction was entered. The court also sentenced Mr. Swenson to a 5-month jail term, again deferring sanctions against the other individual defendants. Subsequently, the court declined to punish the other individual defendants for contempt.
On September 9, when the Board's motion for a preliminary injunction was being considered, the defendants moved orally and then in writing for a change of venue on the grounds ...