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12/30/88 the City of Chicago, v. Local Labor

December 30, 1988





536 N.E.2d 1219, 182 Ill. App. 3d 588, 130 Ill. Dec. 8 1988.IL.1919

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


JUSTICE QUINLAN delivered the opinion of the court. MANNING and O'CONNOR, JJ., concur.


Alice Chico (Chico) filed a complaint with the Illinois Local Labor Relations Board (Board) against her employer, the City of Chicago (City), alleging that the City had committed unfair labor practices against her in retaliation for her pro-union activity with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31 AFL-CIO (union). The complaint was investigated and went to hearing before a hearing officer, who found that five of the actions alleged were, in fact, unfair labor practices. The officer's recommended order *fn1 provided that the City was to cease and desist from discouraging or discriminating against union membership and support; to stop discriminating against employees who file charges or provide information or testimony under the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, par. 1601 et seq.); and to stop interfering with, restraining or coercing employees in the exercise of their rights under the Act. The hearing officer's recommended order also directed the City to rescind, withdraw and discontinue its pending disciplinary claim against Chico, remove all references to it in Chico's personnel file, and, finally, directed the City to post notices of the ruling. Exceptions to the hearing officer's recommended order and decision were filed by both parties, but the Board, nevertheless, adopted the findings of the hearing officer and the recommended remedy.

In November 1985, the union petitioned the Board to allow it to represent a bargaining unit of 45 investigative personnel in the City's office of professional standards , a division of the City's police department. OPS investigates and resolves charges regarding the use of excessive force by Chicago police officers. The petition, over the City's objections, was granted. An election was held and the union became the exclusive bargaining representative for OPS in August 1986.

While this was happening, certain problems arose between OPS and one of its investigators, Alice Chico, who was a visible and active union supporter. Chico testified in favor of the union at hearings on the petition, she attended the preelection conference as a union supporter, and, at time of the election, she served as an official union election observer. Chico alleged that there were five unfair labor practices committed by the City against her in retaliation for her pro-union activities. The alleged unfair labor practices were as follows.

(1) OPS improperly claimed that a discrepancy existed between Chico's testimony at the hearing on the union's petition for representation, in which she testified that she co-taught a class at Northeastern University, and the resume she submitted in December 1985, which the City claimed indicated that she taught the class, not that she co-taught the class, and her application for employment filed with the Department in which she did not mention anything regarding teaching a class.

(2) In August 1986, OPS reopened a file which Chico had closed out because the complaint against the two police officers had not been sustained. Although it is not entirely clear who requested this, the reviewer of the closed file found that there was a discrepancy in the file which Chico had directed to be closed, and that additional investigation was warranted.

(3) OPS demanded that Chico provide written reasons for her absence from her desk during the union's election. Although Chico contended that she had told OPS and that OPS knew of her designation as an election observer at that time, OPS contended that they did not know or authorize her designation as an election observer.

(4) In September 1986, OPS demanded that Chico file a written evaluation of a course she had taken in criminalistics, although the course had ended in April 1986. The course was taken on Chico's own time and at her own expense, but she had her work hours rearranged to take the course.

(5) OPS initiated a complaint against Chico for disseminating confidential OPS documents in violation of a police department rule. Chico stated that when she gave the Board investigator copies of the confidential OPS documents, she told the investigator of the confidential nature of the documents and that the investigator assured her that the documents would be kept confidential.

During this time period involving the alleged unfair labor practices, Chico filed and continued to pursue her complaint against the City with the Board, alleging the above-stated matters as unfair labor practices. Chico asserted that all of the City's actions made her feel harassed and intimidated, and, additionally, as to the fifth action concerning the dissemination of the confidential documents, that she had received a 15-day suspension. As noted above, a hearing was subsequently held before a hearing officer of the Board on these charges, and the officer concluded that each act was an unfair labor practice under sections 10(a)(1), (a)(2), and (a)(3) of the Act. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, par. 1610.) The hearing officer, however, found that Chico's transfer to another unit in OPS *fn2 and the transfer of the file that had been reopened to another OPS investigator were not motivated by anti-union animus, and, thus, were not unfair labor practices. Based upon the findings that the City committed five unfair labor practices, the hearing officer issued ...

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