APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT
539 N.E.2d 847, 183 Ill. App. 3d 915, 132 Ill. Dec. 284 1989.IL.797
Petition for review of order of Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.
JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the opinion of the court. LUND and GREEN, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE KNECHT
The question presented by this appeal is whether employees included in an educational labor bargaining unit, who are not members of the union which is their exclusive bargaining representative, must file objections in order to have their fair share fee payments to the union reduced by the amounts thereof attributable to expenditures for union activities unrelated to collective bargaining. We hold such employees must file objections in order to avoid paying their proportionate shares of union expenditures unrelated to collective bargaining and affirm the decision of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board which so held.
Disputes of the type with which we are here confronted arise from a labor union's duty to fairly represent all employees -- both union members and nonmembers -- included in bargaining units for which the union is the exclusive bargaining representative. In such situations, the union's right to receive compensation for services it provides nonmembers conflicts with the first amendment rights of such employees to freedom of association for the advancement of ideas. The Supreme Court has held in such circumstances, nonmembers of unions may be required to pay the union which is their exclusive bargaining representative only their fair share of the costs of collective bargaining and other activities normally and reasonably employed by the union to implement its duties as the employees' exclusive bargaining representative. See Ellis v. Brotherhood of Ry., Airline & Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Employees (1984), 466 U.S. 435, 80 L. Ed. 2d 428, 104 S. Ct. 1883; see also Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), 431 U.S. 209, 52 L. Ed. 2d 261, 97 S. Ct. 1782.
When it enacted the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, par. 1701 et seq.), the General Assembly recognized educational labor unions provide important services to nonmembers for whom the unions are the exclusive bargaining representatives. Therefore, the legislature provided in section 11 of the IELRA for the deduction of fair share fees from the pay of nonmembers of educational labor unions, when an educational employer and a union have executed a contract providing for such deductions:
"When a collective bargaining agreement is entered into with an exclusive representative, it may include a provision requiring employees covered by the agreement who are not members of the organization to pay to the organization a fair share fee for services rendered. The exclusive representative shall certify to the employer an amount not to exceed the dues uniformly required of members which shall constitute each non member employee's fair share fee. The fair share fee payment shall be deducted by the employer from the earnings of the non member employees and paid to the exclusive representative.
The amount certified by the exclusive representative shall not include any fees for contributions related to the election or support of any candidate for political office. Nothing in this Section shall preclude the non member employee from making voluntary political contributions in conjunction with his or her fair share payment." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, par. 1711.)
In recognition of the constitutional right of nonmembers of unions not to be compelled to financially support union activities unrelated to collective bargaining, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board has promulgated rules which establish a procedure for handling objections to fair share fees. These rules are designed to insure payers of fair share fees are not compelled to support union activities unrelated to collective bargaining which they find objectionable. 80 Ill. Adm. Code §§ 1125.10 through 1125.90 (Supp. Jan. 1, 1986).
Pursuant to the IELRB's rules, the petitioners, who are not members of the educational labor unions which are their exclusive bargaining representatives, filed objections to the fair share fees which are deducted from their pay. Generally, the petitioners contended they are entitled to automatic advance reductions in their fair share fees in the amounts thereof which represent expenditures for activities unrelated to collective bargaining, regardless of whether they filed objections to the fees. The petitioners contended the requirement they file objections to their fair share fees, in order to receive rebates of the amounts thereof attributable to union expenditures for activities unrelated to collective bargaining, imposes an "unfair burden" on them.
The petitioners and the educational labor unions involved in this case (the Rockford Education Association, IEA/NEA (Illinois Education Association/National Education Association), and Dunlap Education Association, IEA/NEA), filed an agreed statement of facts with the IELRB which provides: (1) petitioners are employed by public school districts which have entered into collective-bargaining agreements with IEA affiliates; (2) the collective-bargaining agreements in question contain provisions requiring employees within the bargaining units who are not union members to pay the unions which are their exclusive bargaining representatives a fair share fee for "services rendered"; (3) substantially all of the local IEA affiliates who charge nonmembers fair share fees certify such fees in amounts equal to union dues; (4) during the 1985-86 school year, IEA affiliates charged nonmembers who objected to the amount of their fair share fees 86.7% of the dues charged union members; (5) during the 1986-87 school year, IEA affiliates charged nonmembers who objected to amount of their fair share fees 84.69% of the dues charged union members; (6) during the 1985-86 and 1986-87 school years, 13.3% and 15.31%, respectively, of the dues uniformly required of union members were rebated to objecting fee payers; (7) with respect to the 1986-87 school year, perhaps as much as 15.31% of the amount of fair share fees certified to employers are attributable to expenditures for "'nonchargeable activities'"; and (8) none of the IEA's expenditures are contributions related to election or support of any candidate for political office.
In an order entered April 8, 1988, the IELRB rejected the petitioners' contentions and held educational labor unions are not required to provide automatic advance reductions in the fair share fees of nonmembers who do not file objections to the amount of the fees. The principal reason which the IELRB stated for its decision was section 11 explicitly authorizes the exclusive representative of the employees in a bargaining unit to certify a fair share fee equal to the amount of the dues uniformly required of union members, provided the fee does ...