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08/04/89 Chicago Principals v. Educational Labor

August 4, 1989

FEDERATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS, AFL/CIO, PETITIONER

v.

ILLINOIS EDUCATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD ET AL., RESPONDENTS



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

CHICAGO PRINCIPALS ASSOCIATION, LOCAL 2, AMERICAN

543 N.E.2d 166, 187 Ill. App. 3d 64, 134 Ill. Dec. 883 1989.IL.1199

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

APPELLATE Judges:

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

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE GREEN

We affirm here a decision of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board holding that principals of schools operated by respondent, the Chicago Board of Education, a/k/a The Board of Education of the City of Chicago (Board of Education), are not "educational employee[s]" by the terms of section 2(b) of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1984 Supp., ch. 48, par. 1702(b)), and, thus, are not entitled to organize for collective-bargaining purposes pursuant to section 3(a) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1984 Supp., ch. 48, par. 1703(a)) and to require the Board of Education to bargain with them. Chicago Board of Education, 4 Pub. Employee Rep. (Ill.) par. 1074, case No. 84-CA-0002 (Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, May 17, 1988).

The parties to this proceeding agree that (1) petitioner, the Chicago Principals Association , as its name implies, is a long-standing voluntary group of principals of schools operated by the Board of Education; (2) on January 9, 1984, CPA requested the Board of Education to bargain with it; and (3) the latter refused to do so. On March 27, 1984, CPA filed a charge with IELRB alleging the Board of Education had violated various sections of the Act by refusing to bargain collectively with CPA. On May 10, 1984, the charge was amended to also contend the Board of Education had violated the Act by refusing to meet with the CPA president pursuant to a prior memorandum and prior practice of the parties. A complaint was issued by IELRB on June 24, 1985. After an evidentiary hearing before a hearing officer and a hearing before the IELRB, the IELRB issued an order on May 17, 1988, dismissing the

Section 3(a) of the Act provides "educational employees" the right to organize for collective bargaining. Section 2(b) of the Act excludes from the definition of those who are "educational employees" those who are "supervisors" or "managerial . . . employees." (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1984 Supp., ch. 48, par. 1702(b).) The IELRB found the principals were both "supervisors" and "managerial employees" and, therefore, not "educational employees" entitled to the protections of the Act for these reasons. The IELRB also held that neither any prior memorandum nor past practice required the Board of Education to meet with CPA nor did any prior memorandum or past practice enable the principals to organize pursuant to section 3(a) of the Act.

The position taken by CPA is based primarily upon its contentions that (1) because of the size of the system operated by the Board of Education and the lines of authority established, its principals are much more limited in responsibility and authority, particularly in regard to personnel, than is the case in most school systems; and (2) the legislature intended to place substantial limits on the applicability of both the supervisory and managerial exclusions of the Act's definition of those who are considered to be "educational employees." Accordingly, CPA vigorously argues that any determination that either the supervisory or managerial exclusion is applicable to CPA members is contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence and to law.

We first address the question of the "supervisor" exclusion and begin with consideration of the following definition appearing in section 2(g) of the Act:

"'Supervisor' means any individual having authority in the interests of the employer to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, reward or discipline other employees within the appropriate bargaining unit and adjust their grievances, or to effectively recommend such action if the exercise of such authority is not of a merely routine or clerical nature but requires the use of independent judgment. The term 'supervisor' includes only those individuals who devote a preponderance of their employment time to such exercising authority." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, par. 1702(g).

The Board of Education and the IELRB maintain that, in order to find the supervisory exclusion was applicable to the principals involved here, the IELRB was required to be satisfied by a preponderance or greater weight of the evidence that (1) the principals have the authority in the interest of the employer to perform some of the functions of supervisors or to effectively recommend such action; (2) the exercise of such authority is not merely routine or clerical in nature but requires a use of independent judgment; and (3) a preponderance of the employment time of the principals is devoted to the exercise of this authority. This obvious requirement, which we deem proper, was set forth by IELRB in Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees, 4 Pub. Employee Rep. (Ill.) par. 1030, case No. 86 -- RC -- 0018 -- S (Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, Nov. 17, 1987). Notably, section 2(g) lists the supervisory functions in the disjunctive, thus clearly stating that one need not perform all of those functions in order to be a supervisor. While the IELRB must be satisfied by a preponderance of the evidence as to the existence of the three listed elements, we can properly reject its determination in that regard only if it is contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. Environmental Protection Agency v. Pollution Control Board (1986), 115 Ill. 2d 65, 503 N.E.2d 343.

The record quite clearly indicates that, within the organizational setup of the Chicago public schools, the school principals have little power or reason to directly perform most of the functions listed in section 2(g) of the Act. Rather, the principals make recommendations in regard to these matters. The requirement that these recommendations be made "effectively" is stated in contrast to recommendations ...


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