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Bd. of Trustees v. College Teachers Union

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 17, 1981.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT NO. 508, COUNTY OF COOK, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

COOK COUNTY COLLEGE TEACHERS UNION, LOCAL 1600, IFT, AFT, AFL-CIO, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN F. HECHINGER, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE JIGANTI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied January 22, 1982.

The plaintiff, the Board of Trustees of Community College District No. 508 (Board) filed an action in the circuit court of Cook County seeking to overturn an arbitrator's award. The defendant, the Cook County College Teachers Union, Local 1600 (Union), filed a motion for summary judgment. The Board also moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted the Union's motion for summary judgment, from which the Board appeals.

On appeal, the Board contends that the trial court erred in affirming the arbitrator's award because the award was contrary to the express terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

The instant dispute concerns the arbitrator's interpretation of article VIII H.1 of the collective bargaining agreement between the Union and the Board. This provision provides in pertinent part:

"Registration duties. Registration shall last no longer than one week at all [city] colleges. Duties of faculty members during registration period shall consist of counseling, programming and other professionally related duties."

The collective bargaining agreement also provided for binding arbitration of grievances filed by the Union. The relevant portions of this provision are as follows:

"(i) The decision of the arbitrator will be accepted in good faith as final by both parties to the grievance and both will abide by it.

(j) The arbitrator shall limit his decision strictly to the application and interpretation of the provisions of this Agreement and he shall be without power or authority to make any decision:

(1) Contrary to, or inconsistent with, or modifying or varying in any way, the terms of this Agreement; or

(2) Limiting or interfering in any way with the powers, duties and responsibilities of the Board under applicable law."

During the registration period in the fall of 1976, librarians at the Kennedy-King College were assigned to program students in a special problems category and to work with the counselors. They claimed they did so without protest as a gesture of good will toward the new school president. Prior to this time, librarians at Kennedy-King and all other city colleges did not participate in registration. In the spring and fall of 1977, librarians at Kennedy-King College were again assigned to and did assist in the registration.

The testimony of Noel Grego, a librarian at Kennedy-King, describing these duties was attached to the Board's motion for summary judgment. According to Grego, the librarians were assigned to work with the counselors in programing students in the "special problems" category. These students had been programmed by other faculty members for courses and, although the students had paid for the courses, the courses were no longer available. Faculty members at the special problems table would then find other courses for the students to take. Grego asserted that his experience as a librarian did not equip him with any particular skill or qualification or background to perform this function and that the librarians worked in a subordinate level to the counselors.

The Union filed grievances for the 1977 spring and fall assignments. The Board rejected the grievances. The matter then went to arbitration to decide whether the registration dues assigned to the librarians violated the terms of the agreement, particularly article VIII H.1, which provides, "[d]uties of faculty members during registration ...


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