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Bd of Trustees v. Cook Co. College Teach.





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. David J. Shields, Judge, presiding. JUSTICE SULLIVAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

PRESIDING JUSTICE SULLIVAN delivered the opinion of the court:

Rehearing denied January 17, 1986.

This appeal is from an order granting summary judgment for plaintiff, board of trustees of Community Colleges District 508 (the board of trustees), in its action against defendants, Cook County College Teachers Union, Local No. 1600 (the union) and Ann Degerstrom (Degerstrom), to enjoin arbitration of her grievance against the board of trustees. In support of its position that summary judgment was improperly granted, defendants contend that the trial court: (a) lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the Illinois Education Labor Relations Act (IELRA) provides for an administrative hearing with review directly in the appellate court and (b) erred in finding that the nondelegability doctrine precluded arbitration of a grievance involving teaching qualifications.

It appears that Degerstrom taught nutrition and food service management since 1966, first at Loop College and then at Malcolm X College and had twice received promotions in rank based upon her proficiency in both fields. In 1979, she was asked by her program director to drop a nutrition course from her schedule so that the director could teach it. After she refused the request, the college administration found her not qualified to teach nutrition, removed that course from her schedule and assigned it to the director. Degerstrom filed a grievance which was eventually settled, and she was reinstated to her nutrition courses. However, after continuing to teach them for several years, she was again found unqualified to teach nutrition, and it is that action on the part of the administration which formed the basis for the grievance at issue here. Defendants characterize the decision as one which was not because of any lack of qualification on her part but rather was to provide a position for an administrator who wished to return to teaching. The board of trustees, however, posit that Degerstrom was seeking employment in a capacity other than her then-current position and that she was not hired for the new position because the administration determined that she was not qualified for it.

Degerstrom's grievance was denied, and, after the union submitted it to arbitration pursuant to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, the board of trustees filed this action to enjoin the arbitration proceeding on the basis that its decisions with respect to qualifications were non-delegable and not subject to arbitration. Arbitration proceedings in which certain jurisdictional motions regarding the nondelegability issue had been taken under advisement were terminated when the trial court granted summary judgment for it. This appeal followed the denial of defendants' motion for rehearing.



Defendants first contend that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to determine whether the grievance was arbitrable. In support thereof, they argue that section 15 of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (IELRA) confers the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board (IELR Board) with jurisdiction over unfair labor practices (Ill. Ann. Stat., ch. 48, par. 1715 (Smith-Hurd Supp. 1985)), and provides for direct appellate court review of final orders of the Board (Ill. Ann. Stat., ch. 48, par. 1716(a) (Smith-Hurd Supp. 1985)). Refusal to bargain collectively in good faith, which includes the refusal to discuss grievances with the exclusive representative of employees is one of the unfair labor practices prohibited by IELRA (Ill. Ann. Stat., ch. 48, par. 1714(a)(5) (Smith-Hurd Supp. 1985)), and defendants assert that under section 1715 of IELRA only the IELR Board had jurisdiction over the board of trustees' refusal here to proceed with arbitration. We note, however, that even if this particular unfair labor practice encompasses an employer's refusal to arbitrate, the statutory enumeration of unfair labor practices pertaining to the union does not include a provision allowing the board to charge the union with an unfair labor practice based upon an attempt to arbitrate an allegedly inarbitrable matter. The portion of the statute which defines unfair labor practices applicable to union activity provides that:

"(b) Employee organizations, their agents or representatives or educational employees are prohibited from:

(1) Restraining or coercing employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed under this Act.

(2) Restraining or coercing an educational employer in the selection of his representative for the purposes of collective bargaining or the adjustment of grievances.

(3) Refusing to bargain collectively in good faith with an educational employer, if they have been designated in accordance with any provisions of this Act as the exclusive representative of employees in an appropriate unit.

(4) Violating any of the rules and regulations promulgated by the Board regulating the conduct of ...

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