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02/20/87 the County of Kane v. Jan Carlson

February 20, 1987

THE COUNTY OF KANE

v.

JAN CARLSON, CIRCUIT CLERK, ET AL. -- HARRIS AGNEW, PLAINTIFF,

v.

ILLINOIS STATE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD ET AL., DEFENDANTS



SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

507 N.E.2d 482, 116 Ill. 2d 186, 107 Ill. Dec. 569 1987.IL.190

No. 63084. -- Appeal from the Appellate Court for the Second District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County, the Hon. John S. Teschner, Judge, presiding. No. 63116. -- Original action for mandamus or prohibition.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE MILLER delivered the opinion of the court.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MILLER

At issue in these consolidated actions is whether certain nonsupervisory employees of the judicial branch of State government are included in the scope of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, pars. 1601 through 1627) (the Act).

In cause No. 63084, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees petitioned the Illinois State Labor Relations Board (State Board) to conduct a representation election among the nonsupervisory employees in the office of the Kane County circuit clerk. AFSCME sought to represent the deputy circuit clerks in collective bargaining, and the State Board found that AFSCME had shown the necessary level of interest among affected employees that is required for formal election proceedings. On January 18, 1985, the County of Kane filed a complaint for a declaratory judgment and an injunction, seeking to prevent the State Board from proceeding on AFSCME's representation petition. The complaint sought a declaration that the deputy circuit clerks were not employees under the Act, that the Act was unconstitutional on its face and as applied to the county, and that the county was the sole employer of the deputy clerks. Named as defendants in the county's complaint were Jan Carlson, circuit clerk of Kane County, John A. Krause, then chief Judge of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit, the State Board, AFSCME Council 31, and various union officers. In an order entered February 14, 1985, the circuit court permanently enjoined the State Board from proceeding on the matter. The court found that the deputy circuit clerks were not within the scope of the Act and therefore the State Board had no jurisdiction over the representation petition.

The appellate court reversed, with one Justice Dissenting. (140 Ill. App. 3d 814.) The court believed that the county, the chief Judge, and the circuit clerk were all within the scope of the Act, though the court did not determine which of those three entities employed the deputy clerks. The court held that the State Board had jurisdiction over the matter and that the bargaining duty imposed by the Act on public employers did not, on its face, violate the constitutional requirement of separation of powers. The appellate panel certified the case for review by this court as presenting issues of substantial importance (see 87 Ill. 2d R. 316).

Similar questions regarding the scope of the Act are presented in cause No. 63116. There we allowed the petition of Harris Agnew, chief Judge of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, for leave to file a complaint for a writ of mandamus or prohibition (see 87 Ill. 2d R. 381). The petition names the State Board and AFSCME Council 31 as respondents, and Chief Judge Agnew seeks to bar the State Board from proceeding further on certain complaints for unfair labor practices filed against him.

Two of the charges against the chief Judge have been heard by a hearing officer. One of them concerned the chief Judge's refusal to sign a collective-bargaining agreement. In that case the hearing officer found that employees of the chief Judge had taken part in a representation election along with employees of the circuit clerk and employees of Winnebago County, one of the counties included in the Seventeenth Circuit; AFSCME was certified as the employees' representative following the election. The hearing officer found that the chief Judge was represented in negotiations with the union but later refused to sign a collective-bargaining agreement. The hearing officer concluded that the State Board had jurisdiction over the employees of the chief Judge and therefore recommended that the chief Judge be ordered to sign the agreement. The hearing officer also heard evidence regarding another charge of an unfair labor practice; this involved Kerry Knodle, a juvenile probation officer employed in the Winnebago County Department of Court Services. Knodle alleged some five instances in which his supervisors had interfered with his rights under the Act, and the hearing officer found evidence supporting some of the charges and recommended the posting of a cease-and-desist order in the workplace. In his petition for a writ of mandamus the chief Judge contends that he is not an employer within the scope of the Act. The chief Judge therefore asks that the State Board be barred from proceeding any further on these and other pending charges of unfair labor practices filed against him. I

The Act provides a comprehensive system of collective bargaining for those public employees and employers who fall within its scope. Responsibility for administering the Act is placed in two labor boards: a local board, having jurisdiction over collective-bargaining matters involving "units of local government with a population in excess of 1 million persons," and a State board, having jurisdiction over collective-bargaining matters involving other public employers covered by the Act. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, pars. 1605(a), (b).) The boards are to determine appropriate bargaining units and conduct representation elections, and to investigate, hear, and determine charges of unfair labor practices. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, pars. 1609, 1611.

Once an exclusive bargaining representative is certified for a particular group of employees (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1609), the employer has the duty to bargain collectively with the employees' representative. This requires that the parties meet and "negotiate in good faith with respect to wages, hours, and other conditions of employment, not excluded by Section 4 of this Act." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1607.) Excepted from the group of mandatory subjects of bargaining are "matters of inherent managerial policy, which shall include such areas of discretion or policy as the functions of the employer, standards of services, its overall budget, the organizational structure and selection of new employees, examination techniques and direction of employees." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1604.) Unless the parties agree otherwise, the collective-bargaining agreement negotiated by them must contain "a grievance resolution procedure . . . providing for final and binding arbitration of disputes concerning the administration or interpretation of the agreement." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1608.

To protect the statutory rights of employers and employees, the Act prohibits certain unfair labor practices and provides procedures for their resolution. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, pars. 1610, 1611.) An employer may not interfere with rights granted to employees by the Act or discriminate against or discharge an employee because of union membership or other protected activity; moreover, an employer may not refuse to bargain collectively with the exclusive representative of an employee group or violate an order of the board concerning a representation election. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1610(a).) Unfair labor practices by labor organizations and their agents are defined to prohibit similar activity. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1611(b).) Charges of unfair labor practices are to be filed with the appropriate board, which may then conduct an investigation, hear evidence, and grant relief. Review of the decision lies in the appellate court (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1611(e)), and the boards themselves may institute proceedings in circuit court to enforce their orders (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, pars. 1611(f), (g)).

Strikes by fire fighters, peace officers, and certain security employees and paramedics are prohibited by the Act (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1617(a)), and in other cases strikes constituting "a clear and present danger to the health and safety of the public" may be enjoined (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1618(a)). With respect to employees who are statutorily forbidden to strike or who have been enjoined from striking, the Act provides a system that has been termed "compulsory advisory arbitration" for resolving impasses in the negotiation of their collective-bargaining agreements. (Jenkins, Collective Bargaining for Public Employees: An Overview of Illinois' New Act, 1983 S. Ill. U.L.J. 483, 500 n.168.) This process begins with mediation and continues through arbitration. At the final stage, the decision of the arbitration panel must be submitted, for acceptance or rejection, to what is termed the "governing body" (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1603(h)) of the particular public employer involved in the negotiations. If a decision or issue is rejected, it is returned to the arbitration panel for further proceedings. At that point, the public employer becomes liable for the costs of any supplemental proceedings, including the attorney fees of the employees' representative. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1614(o). II

In the two actions consolidated here the parties raise a number of common issues regarding the constitutionality of the Act and the jurisdiction of the State Board. The Kane County case, cause No. 63084, originated as an action for declaratory and injunctive relief brought by the county against the circuit clerk, the chief Judge of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit, the State Board, and AFSCME. The county sought to enjoin the State Board from taking any further action on the union's petition for recognition as the exclusive bargaining agent of non-supervisory employees of the circuit clerk's office, all of whom had been deputized. The other case, cause No. 63116, is a complaint for a writ of mandamus or prohibition sought by Harris Agnew, the chief Judge of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit. Charges of unfair labor practices have been filed against the chief Judge, and he asks that the State Board ...


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