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09/22/88 American Federation of v. State Labor

September 22, 1988

EMPLOYEES, COUNCIL 31, AFL-CIO, PETITIONER

v.

ILLINOIS STATE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD ET AL., RESPONDENTS



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL

529 N.E.2d 773, 175 Ill. App. 3d 191, 124 Ill. Dec. 792

Petition for review of order of Illinois State Labor Relations Board. 1988.IL.1409

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. JIGANTI, P.J., and JOHNSON, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINN

Petitioner, American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, AFL-CIO , brought this action against respondents, Illinois State Labor Relations Board (Board), City of Clinton, and Dr. John Warner Hospital, seeking reinstatement of two employees of the hospital who were discharged. AFSCME charged respondents Clinton and the hospital with unfair labor practices under section 10 of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, pars. 1610(a)(1), (a)(2)), alleging that they discharged Tara Lawson and Ronald West in retaliation for their union activities. The hearing officer of the Board held in favor of petitioner. The Board, however, reversed the hearing officer's decision and dismissed the complaints.

On appeal to this court, AFSCME contends that the Board's decision was premised on an improper test or standard of "union animus" and that the decision of the Board is against the manifest weight of the evidence.

We affirm.

BACKGROUND

Tara Lawson and Ronald West were employed by Dr. John Warner Hospital as emergency medical technicians (EMTs). The hospital, located in Clinton, Illinois, provides DeWitt County with ambulance services. The primary function of EMTs is to immediately respond to emergency medical calls, which puts them first at the scene of the emergency. There they evaluate the nature and extent of the victim's illness or injury and administer specified diagnostic and emergency treatment procedures. They then transport the victims to the hospital.

The EMTs work in teams of two, one driver and one attendant. Each team on duty is classified as a "team 1" or "team 2." Team 1 members are required to be present in the hospital, while the team 2s are backups, who are required to be within five minutes of the hospital. The teams are on 24-hour shifts that run from 7 a.m. of one day to 7 a.m. of the following day.

Time is of the essence for EMTs; they must respond immediately to a call because there is no way to gauge the extent of the emergency and delays could literally mean the difference between life and death.

Because the shifts last 24 hours, team 1 members are allowed to sleep during their shift. Male members of team 1 are assigned a room next to the ambulance garage. This room has two beds, a shower, and a speaker for the public address system. Female team members are assigned whatever patient room is vacant. There is no speaker in any of the patient rooms, but speakers are in the hallways.

After 9 p.m., team 1 members are presumed to be in their rooms. If they plan to go to their room to sleep before 9 p.m., the team member is to advise the dispatcher of that fact. This is an unwritten policy.

Each team member is issued a portable two-way radio to communicate with the dispatcher. EMTs on duty are required to wear the radios and leave them on. When the hospital dispatcher receives a call, she records the time of the call and transmits the call to the team 1 members. During daytime hours, the dispatcher announces "Code Orange, Code Orange" over the public address system. The dispatcher also announces the call over the portable radio system. During the radio communication, the dispatcher advises the EMT of the nature of the call, classifying it as code 1, 2, or 3, depending on the severity of the illness or injury.

If the call comes in after 9 p.m. the dispatcher does not use the public address system, in order to avoid disturbing the hospital's patients, but instead telephones the EMTs in their rooms and communicates over the two-way radios.

Each employee of the hospital receives an employee handbook. This contains a condensed version of the personnel policy and procedures manual which is located in the ambulance garage. The handbook lists the types of employee discipline and the conduct which warrants discipline. Among the types of conduct warranting immediate termination of employee is "neglect ...


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