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08/13/87 Local 253 Division v. Educational Labor

August 13, 1987






512 N.E.2d 1008, 159 Ill. App. 3d 352, 111 Ill. Dec. 467 1987.IL.1168

Petition for review of order of Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.

Rehearing Denied September 17, 1987.


JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the opinion of the court. GREEN and McCULLOUGH, JJ., concur.


Local 253 Division affiliated with Local 50 of Service Employees International Union (complainant) filed unfair labor practice charges with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (Board) against East St. Louis School District No. 189 (District). After investigation, the Board issued a complaint charging the District with violating sections 14(a)(1), (2), (3), and (5) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, pars. 1714(a)(1), (2), (3), (5)) of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1701 et seq.). After hearing, the Board hearing officer found complainant had not assumed exclusive representative status as a successor labor organization under the Act, and the District had not violated the Act as charged by refusing to remit dues to complainant, a labor organization which had not established majority status. The hearing officer dismissed the unfair labor practice charges. On exceptions to the hearing officer's recommended decision and order, the Board affirmed the hearing officer's findings of fact and dismissal of the unfair labor practice charges, specifically adopting the hearing officer's reasoning for dismissal of the sections 14(a)(2) and (3) charges and the reasoning, as modified, for dismissal of the sections 14(a)(1) and (5) charges. Complainant has filed for direct review of the Board's decision (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1716(a)), arguing the Board's dismissal of the sections 14(a)(1), (2), (3), and (5) charges was against the manifest weight of the evidence. We disagree and affirm.

The background of the dispute from which the charges arose, as found by the hearing officer, was as follows. On July 1, 1980, the District entered into a collective-bargaining agreement with Local 253 as the exclusive bargaining representative of a unit comprised of the District's "utility-maintenance" employees, including:

"[All] regular custodial employees, ground crew, and truck drivers/mechanics, media technicians, warehousemen, utility maintenance cafeteria workers, auxiliary aides, [and] coordinators, but excluding substitute employees working in the Experimental Breakfast Programs."

By its terms the agreement automatically renewed itself from year to year unless superseded by a subsequent agreement between the parties.

Earlier in 1980, before negotiations began, Local 253 contacted Local 50, a nearby affiliate of Service Employees International Union (SEIU or International), for assistance in negotiations. In July 1982, Local 253 again contacted Local 50 for assistance in negotiating a collective-bargaining agreement. At a July 1982 meeting with Local 253 officers, the president of Local 50 suggested Local 253 consider merging with Local 50. Local 50 represented about 9,000 employees in the St. Louis area. According to testimony of Local 50 representatives, the possibility of a merger of Local 253 into Local 50 was again discussed at an August 1982 meeting with Local 253 officers which preceded a Local 253 general membership meeting. There was disputed testimony on whether notices of the Local 253 membership meeting mentioned the possibility of a merger of Local 253 into Local 50 as a topic for Discussion.

There was testimony that about 80 to 100 of the 361 members of Local 253 attended the August 1982 membership meeting. Several witnesses testified the subject of the merger was brought up and discussed, a motion was made by one of the membership favoring the merger and was seconded, and a standing vote was taken, with the membership voting about 88 to 2 in favor of the merger.

Beginning in August 1982, a series of letters was exchanged between the executive board of Local 253 and the International indicating resistance by Local 253 to merger with Local 50.

In December 1982, the International passed a resolution to merge small locals with larger locals to facilitate effective operation and organization of locals.

In March 1983, the International president advised Local 253's president the International was considering merging Local 253 with Local 50.

In July 1983, the International president signed an order directing the merger of Local 253 into Local 50 effective July 1, 1983.

After the International received petitions concerning the ordered merger, the International president directed a meeting be held to negotiate an acceptable merger agreement meeting the specific concerns of Local 253's officers and members.

In March 1984, the International president ordered the merger and consolidation of Local 253 into Local 50 effective March 1, 1984.

As a result of continuing discord involving Local 253 officers over the ordered merger, an action was filed in June 1984 by the International against Local 253 and its executive board officers to effectuate the merger. A consent judgment was entered later that month. (Service Employees International Union v. Local 253, Service Employees International Union (S.D. Ill. 1984), No. 84 -- 5189.) On entry of the consent judgment, the District was notified: (1) Local 253 was merged into Local 50; (2) Local 253 would be a Division of Local 50; (3) membership dues-deduction authorization forms previously executed by members of Local 253 remained in effect; (4) the District's check forwarding monthly deductions "should be made out to 'Local 253 Division, Local 50 Service Employees International Union'"; and (5) the District should mail its check directly to the Local 50 offices indicated.

On July 25, 1984, the District's superintendent informed Local 50 the District would deduct Local 253 dues for employees with dues-deduction authorizations in effect, but for June and July it would hold the dues pending a legal opinion by its attorneys as to the impact of the enactment of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act on its obligation to recognize Local 253 as a Division of Local 50.

On September 10, 1984, at a general meeting of Local 50's membership, a resolution to merge Local 253 into Local 50, as a Local 50 Division, was approved.

On September 13, 1984, the District filed a petition with the Board requesting an election be conducted among its "utility-maintenance" employees to determine whether Local 253 Division (complainant) had majority status. The District also informed affected employees that until the question was resolved previously executed dues-checkoff authorization forms would not be honored and dues payments could instead be remitted directly to any labor organization by each employee.

On October 10, 1984, complainant filed unfair labor practice charges with the Board against the District.

At hearing below, the hearing officer granted a motion to intervene by General Service Employees Local 382 (80 Ill. Adm. Code 1110.160(c), (f) (1985)) since, on May 15, 1985, Local 382 had filed a representation petition with the Board to represent a bargaining unit comprised of those employees whose representation is herein claimed by complainant.

So far as the record shows, the Board has not yet conducted a representation election among the District's "utility-maintenance" employees.

The crux of this case and the result reached requires Discussion of two key factors, with which we begin our analysis. First, the complainant failed to avail itself of the procedures set forth in the Board's rules and regulations for the amendment of certification of a labor organization claiming status as exclusive bargaining representative. Section 1110.170 provides in pertinent part:

"An exclusive representative shall file a petition with the Board to amend its certification whenever there is a change in its name or structure. The petition shall be served on the employer prior to, or simultaneously with, its filing ...

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