APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT
539 N.E.2d 863, 183 Ill. App. 3d 1027, 132 Ill. Dec. 300 1989.IL.830
Petition for review of order of Illinois State Labor Relations Board.
JUSTICE NASH delivered the opinion of the court. INGLIS and WOODWARD, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE NASH
Petitioners, the County of Du Page and the Du Page County sheriff's office, seek review of a decision and order of the Illinois State Labor Relations Board (Labor Board) which, after making certain findings of law and fact, dismissed the representation petition of respondent, the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 109 (the Union).
We consider first whether this appeal must be dismissed as moot, as is urged by the Labor Board in its brief.
In August 1987 the Union filed a petition for representation-certification with the Labor Board pursuant to section 9 of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, par. 1609), seeking to represent a collective bargaining unit composed of certain categories of employees of the Du Page County sheriff's department. As subsequently amended, the petition sought recognition of a unit described as follows:
"Included, all full time sworn peace officers as that term is defined in Section 3(k) of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act below the rank of Sergeant in the Du Page County Sheriff's Department; excluded, all peace officers in and above the rank of Sergeant, Bailiffs, Correctional Officers, and any others excluded under the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act."
In proceedings before a hearing officer to whom the Labor Board had referred the petition, the Union contended that the only deputy sheriffs who qualified as peace officers under section 3(k) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, par. 1603(k)) were those deputies classified as patrol officers and process servers and that as bailiffs and correctional officers were not "peace officers," they could not be included in the bargaining unit. Du Page County argued at that hearing that the unit proposed by the Union was inappropriate because it did not include the sworn deputy sheriffs classified as bailiffs and correctional officers, and the sheriff's department was fragmented by their exclusion.
At the Conclusion of the evidentiary hearings, the hearing officer stated to counsel representing the Union that she had sought on several occasions during the protracted hearings to be advised whether the Union would be willing to go to an election on a unit larger than that petitioned for by the Union. The hearing officer insisted that she be advised before closing the hearing.
Counsel for the Union conferred with his client at that time and advised that the Union's position was as stated in its petition and that there would be no election if the unit was to include other classifications of deputy sheriffs.
The hearing officer thereafter issued a recommended opinion and order on June 7, 1988, in which she found that correctional officers and bailiffs were "peace officers" under section 3(k) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, par. 1603(k)). As section 3(s)(1) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, par. 1603(s)(1)) provides that peace officers cannot be included in a bargaining unit with nonpeace officers unless both the employer and the labor organization so stipulate, the hearing officer found that the smallest appropriate unit was all sworn deputy sheriffs classified as patrol officer, correctional officer, or bailiff, below the rank of sergeant, employed by the sheriff's department. However, based upon the Union's stated position as petitioner that it declined to proceed to an election if the hearing officer determined upon the composition of a bargaining unit which the Union was unwilling to represent, the recommended opinion of the hearing officer was that the petition be dismissed.
The Labor Board reviewed the recommended opinion and order of its hearing officer, agreed with her final result (dismissal of the petition), but partially reversed the hearing officer's Conclusions of law. The Labor Board in its decision and order found that patrol officers and bailiffs, but not correctional officers, were peace officers under section 3(k) of the Act and, in accordance with section 3(s)(1) of the Act, found that, in this case, the smallest appropriate unit for collective bargaining purposes was one consisting of patrol officers and bailiffs, excluding correctional officers and deputy sheriffs above the rank of sergeant. The Labor Board noted, as had the hearing officer, that the petitioner Union stated it was only seeking to represent a certain described bargaining unit and, as the Union had not agreed to proceed ...