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03/01/88 the City of Wood Dale, v. the Illinois State Labor

March 1, 1988





520 N.E.2d 1097, 166 Ill. App. 3d 881, 117 Ill. Dec. 746 1988.IL.271

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. Simon L. Friedman, Judge, presiding.


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


Plaintiff, the city of Wood Dale (city), appeals the dismissal of its petition seeking administrative review, by way of a writ of certiorari, of an opinion and direction of election issued by the Illinois State Labor Relations Board (Board). The contested opinion certified a group of police officers and detectives employed by the city as an appropriate unit for collective-bargaining representation. We affirm.

Several issues relating to the trial court's jurisdiction to administratively review this matter are raised on appeal. We are to decide: (1) whether an opinion of the Board which designates an appropriate collective-bargaining unit and directs that an election be held to determine representative status is a final order of the Board; (2) whether a unit-representation decision of the Board is directly reviewable in the courts by writ of certiorari ; and (3) whether the Board's opinion was an unlawful exercise of its delegated authority, thereby subjecting the decision to direct review in the circuit courts.

On February 19, 1986, the defendant Machinery, Scrap Iron, Metal and Steel, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, Handlers, Alloy Fabricators, Theatrical, Exposition, Convention and Trade Show Employees Union, Local 714, affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers of America (union), filed a petition pursuant to the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1601 et seq.) seeking to represent certain patrolmen, detectives, and assistant watch commanders employed by the city of Wood Dale. A hearing on the petition was held May 1, 1986, at which time the parties gave evidence and testimony. A hearing officer of the Board on June 18, 1986, issued a recommended decision and direction of election including within a proposed bargaining unit all full-time sworn police officers, assistant shift commanders and detectives below the rank of sergeant as requested by the union. A secret ballot election was to be conducted to determine if the eligible employees wished to have the union act as their collective-bargaining representative.

Timely exceptions were filed by the city seeking review before the full Board of the hearing officer's recommended findings. The city contested the hearing officer's determinations that: (1) the detectives are not confidential employees as that term is defined in section 3(c) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1603(c)), and thus may be included in a bargaining unit; and (2) that an appropriate unit for collective-bargaining purposes under the criteria expressed in the Act would include those detectives.

On September 5, 1986, the Board rendered its decision adopting the recommendation of the hearing officer as its own order. The Board specifically directed the eligible employees be afforded the opportunity to vote between representation by the union and no representation at all.

The election was conducted as scheduled on September 26, 1986. That same day, the city filed in the circuit court of Sangamon County its two-count petition for a writ of certiorari requesting judicial review of the Board's unit-determination decision. The petition in count I prayed that all further actions before the Board in this matter be stayed. The city later filed a motion for a preliminary injunction for that same purpose. (Count II of the petition, which asked that certain provisions of the Act be declared unconstitutional, is not a part of this appeal.) Subsequently both the union and the Board filed motions to dismiss.

In the interim, the results of the September 26, 1986, employee election favorably choosing the union as representative were presented to the Board. On October 7, 1986, the Board, in recognition of the election results, certified the union as the exclusive bargaining representative for the designated employees. The dispute did not end there, however. On November 10, 1986, the union filed an unfair labor practice charge against the city premised on a refusal to bargain with the recognized representative of the employee unit found appropriate by the Board. The Board on November 24, 1986, issued a complaint for hearing on these allegations, to which the city answered, raising as an affirmative defense whether the unit compositions were correctly determined. These unfair labor charge proceedings are not before us.

Returning to the specifics of this case, on February 26, 1986, the circuit court issued its order granting the defendants' motions to dismiss. The court ruled, inter alia, it was the intent of the General Assembly that a proceeding under section 11 of the Act regarding how the Board may deal with unfair labor practices (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1611) is the exclusive means to judicially review bargaining unit determinations made pursuant to section 9 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1609) because section 11 contains the only provision in the Act specifically allowing for administrative review. The city's timely appeal disputes this holding.

There is some indication in the record the unfair labor practice charge levied against the city was resolved against it by a Board order entered April 22, 1987. We have before us a notice of appeal filed May 27, 1987, by the city in the Illinois Appellate Court for the Second District requesting review of the Board's final order that the city committed an unfair labor practice for refusal to bargain. (City of Wood Dale v. Illinois State Labor Relations Board (1988), 165 Ill. App. 3d 640.) The propriety of the Board's earlier unit-certification determination is also raised as an issue in that notice.

While the substantive merits of the Board's unit determination are ultimately contested in this case, this appeal nevertheless tests only the circuit court's order dismissing the petition for writ of certiorari. We are only concerned with whether dismissal under the circumstances was appropriate. Were we to conclude it was ...

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