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03/03/88 Board of Regents of the v. the Illinois Educational

March 3, 1988






520 N.E.2d 1150, 166 Ill. App. 3d 730, 117 Ill. Dec. 799 1988.IL.290

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


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


On February 14, 1984, University Professionals of Illinois, Local 4100, Illinois Federation of Teachers, IFT/AFT/AFL-CIO , filed a petition with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board pursuant to section 7(c)(1) of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1707(c)(1)) requesting an election by which it might obtain certification as the exclusive bargaining representative for certain employees at Sangamon State University , Illinois State University and Northern Illinois University, all under the governance of the Board of Regents of the Regency Universities System, State of Illinois (Board of Regents). The American Association of University Professors then filed a similar petition.

Elections were ultimately held at the three institutions. At those other than SSU, the majority voted that no exclusive bargaining representative be created. No review has been sought from certification by IELRB of those results. On the other hand, at SSU, a dispute developed as to whether persons holding various positions were entitled to vote. After a hearing on challenges before a hearing officer in regard to the propriety of certain ballots, IELRB entered an order on April 17, 1987, sustaining challenges to some and overruling others. This order was formalized by a further order and opinion filed August 5, 1987. (Board of Regents of State of Illinois, 3 Pub. Employee Rep. (Ill.) par. 1098, case Nos. 84-0008, 84-0012 (Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, Aug. 5, 1987).) On April 20, 1987, IELRB issued a further order certifying UPI as the exclusive collective-bargaining representative for the SSU unit. The Board of Regents has taken administrative review to this court (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1716(a); 107 Ill. 2d R. 335(a)). We have allowed the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois and the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University to file a joint brief amicus curiae in support of the Board of Regents on one of the issues presented. We affirm the certification but reverse a portion of the order of April 17, 1987, concerning challenges to ballots.

After the filing of the petitions, the parties entered into stipulations which resolved many questions as to who was in the proposed bargaining unit at SSU and would thereby be eligible to vote at the election. The parties agreed to defer determining the status of four directors of four public affairs centers at SSU. After conducting hearings during the months of September through December 1984, a hearing officer for IELRB issued a recommended decision and order of election on July 15, 1985. On May 30, 1986, IELRB issued an opinion and order setting forth the makeup of the bargaining unit at the various institutions and ordering that an election be held. Board of Regents of State of Illinois, 2 Pub. Employee Rep. (Ill.) par. 1069, case Nos. 84 -- 0008, 84 -- 0012 (Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, May 30, 1986).

By the terms of section 8 of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1708), the ballot at the election gave the voters at SSU the opportunity to vote for either (1) representation by UPI, (2) representation by AAUP, or (3) no representation. At SSU, 144 ballots were cast, seven of which were challenged. The tally of the remaining 137 ballots was as follows:

For UPI 69

For no representation 54

For AAUP 14

For a choice to prevail, section 8 requires a labor organization to receive the vote of a majority of the ballots cast. As the 69 votes for UPI was not a majority of the 144 possible votes, the ruling in regard to the seven challenged ballots is dispositive of the outcome of the election.

The IELRB order of April 17, 1987, sustained the challenge to four of the ballots and overruled the challenge to three of them. The propriety of the ruling sustaining the challenge to three of the ballots is not disputed. The fourth ballot, to which the challenge was sustained, was that of Barbara Hartman. That ruling is one of the issues on review. One of the directors of the public affairs centers did not vote. The other three ballots in issue are those of the other three center directors, who voted under an agreement that their ballots be withheld from the original count. The other issue in the case is IELRB's ruling permitting these ballots to be counted.

Our resolution of the two issues could have four possible results, only one of which could possibly change the result of the election. In its order of April 17, 1987, ruling on the challenges, IELRB ordered the ballots cast by the center directors to be opened. The count was two votes for UPI and one for no representation. If we hold, as IELRB requests, that the directors' ballots should be counted but Hartman's should not, UPI would have 71 votes out of 140 cast and a majority. If we hold that both the center directors' and Hartman's ballots are to be counted, UPI would have at least 71 votes out of 141, which would still be a majority. If we hold, as the Board of Regents requests, that the center directors' votes should not count but Hartman's should count, UPI would have only a certain 69 votes out of 138. Thus, Hartman's vote would be crucial. If she voted for UPI, it would prevail. If she voted for another choice, no majority would exist, and a runoff election would be required. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1708.

We find a fourth alternative to be the proper Disposition. We hold IELRB properly sustained the challenge to Hartman's ballot but improperly permitted the vote of the three center directors. Thus, the original count, by which UPI received 69 of 138 votes and a majority, prevails. Accordingly, the IELRB correctly ...

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