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06/22/95 OFFICE COOK COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY v.

June 22, 1995

OFFICE OF THE COOK COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY, APPELLANT,
v.
THE ILLINOIS LOCAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD ET AL., APPELLEES.



The Honorable Justice Miller delivered the opinion of the court: Justice Harrison, dissenting: Justice Freeman joins in this dissent.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Miller

JUSTICE MILLER delivered the opinion of the court:

The office of the Cook County State's Attorneybrought the present action in the circuit court of Cook County seeking a writ of prohibition and declaratory and injunctive relief. The State's Attorney sought to preclude further proceedings by either the Illinois State Labor Relations Board (State Board) or the Illinois Local Labor Relations Board (Local Board) on separate union representation/certification petitions submitted by the Prosecutors' Bar Association of Cook County and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31. The trial judge agreed with the State's Attorney that the Local Board did not have jurisdiction over the present matter. The trial judge denied the State's Attorney's remaining requests for relief, however, and refused to bar the State Board from proceeding with the representation petitions. We granted the State's Attorney's motion for a direct appeal to this court pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 302(b) (134 Ill. 2d R. 302(b)), and we now reverse that portion of the circuit court judgment allowing the representation petitions to proceed before the State Board.

The procedural history of this case may be stated briefly. In December 1993, the Prosecutors' Bar Association of Cook County filed a representation/certification petition with the Illinois Local Labor Relations Board, which has jurisdiction over collective-bargaining matters involving "units of local government with a population in excess of 1 million persons, but excluding the Regional Transportation Authority" (5 ILCS 315/5(b) (West 1992)). By its petition, the Prosecutors' Bar Association sought to represent certain nonsupervisory assistant State's Attorneys employed by the Cook County State's Attorney. The Local Board scheduled a hearing on the petition for February 17, 1994.

The office of the Cook County State's Attorney, through its incumbent, Jack O'Malley, instituted thepresent action in the circuit court of Cook County on February 15, 1994. The State's Attorney requested a writ of prohibition and declaratory and injunctive relief, seeking on several grounds to preclude the Local Board from proceeding any further on the pending representation petition. The next day, February 16, the court ruled that the Local Board lacked jurisdiction over the State's Attorney, an elected State official, and enjoined the Local Board from conducting further proceedings on the representation petition. The State's Attorney was granted leave on March 10, 1994, to file an amended complaint, which added the Illinois State Labor Relations Board as a defendant. In general terms, the State Board has jurisdiction over collective-bargaining matters involving entities--including the State--that do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Local Board. 5 ILCS 315/5(a) (West 1992).

The two labor boards and the Prosecutors' Bar Association subsequently moved to dismiss the amended complaint. Later, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31 (AFSCME), was permitted to intervene as a defendant in the action. Like the Prosecutors' Bar Association, AFSCME was seeking to represent certain nonsupervisory assistant State's Attorneys employed by the Cook County State's Attorney.

Following the submission of briefs and the presentation of oral arguments by the parties, the trial court on May 17, 1994, granted the defendants' motions to dismiss the State's Attorney's amended complaint. The judge concluded that a number of factual questions remained for resolution and that the State's Attorney had therefore failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The State's Attorney filed a timely notice of appeal from that ruling. The State's Attorney subsequently filed motions in this court seeking to stay furtherproceedings before the State Board and requesting a direct appeal pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 302(b) (134 Ill. 2d R. 302(b)). We granted both motions and transferred jurisdiction from the appellate court to this court. We later granted leave to the Illinois Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations to file a brief as amicus curiae in support of the defendants (134 Ill. 2d R. 345).

Before this court, the office of the Cook County State's Attorney raises two principal arguments in support of the contention that, as a matter of law, assistant State's Attorneys are not covered by the provisions of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (5 ILCS 315/1 through 27 (West 1992)). The State's Attorney first argues that the assistant State's Attorneys must be considered managerial employees as a matter of law and hence not subject to the Public Labor Relations Act, which excludes managerial employees from the class of employees who are entitled to engage in collective bargaining (5 ILCS 315/3(n), 6(a) (West 1992)). The State's Attorney notes that in two cases the appellate court has concluded that certain groups of attorneys are managerial employees and thus outside the coverage of the Labor Act. ( Chief Judge v. American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, Council 31 (1992), 229 Ill. App. 3d 180, 171 Ill. Dec. 102, 593 N.E.2d 922 (lawyers employed in office of Cook County public guardian); Salaried Employees of North America v. Illinois Local Labor Relations Board (1990), 202 Ill. App. 3d 1013, 148 Ill. Dec. 329, 560 N.E.2d 926 (lawyers employed in law department of City of Chicago).) The State's Attorney contends that the same result must be reached here, in light of the statutory duties of the State's Attorney's office and its assistants. The State's Attorney also argues that the special relationship between his office and the assistant State's Attorneys compels the conclusion that the legislature could not have intended for assistant State'sAttorneys to be included within the coverage of the Public Labor Relations Act. We agree with the State's Attorney's first argument, as we explain below, and therefore we have no occasion to address the second one.

The Illinois Public Labor Relations Act defines a "managerial employee" as:

"an individual who is engaged predominantly in executive and management functions and is charged with the responsibility of directing the effectuation of such managerial policies and practices." 5 ILCS 315/3(j) (West 1992).

The authority to make independent decisions and the consequent alignment of the employee's interests with management's are hallmarks of managerial status for purposes of labor law. In a case involving university faculty members, the United States Supreme Court explained:

"Managerial employees must exercise discretion within, or even independently of, established employer policy and must be aligned with management. * * * An employee may be excluded as managerial only if he represents management interests by taking or recommending discretionary actions that effectively control or implement employer policy." ( National Labor Relations Board v. Yeshiva University (1980), 444 U.S. 672, 683, 63 L. Ed. 2d 115, 126, 100 S. Ct. 856, 862.)

The Court concluded that the faculty members at issue, unlike faculty members on other college campuses, were managerial employees because of their deep involvement in, and control over, administrative matters.

Moreover, it should be noted that "managerial status is not limited to those at the very highest level of the governmental entity, for it is enough if the functions performed by the employee sufficiently align him with management such that the employees 'should not be in a position requiring them to divide their loyalty to the administration * * * with their loyalty to an exclusive collective-bargaining representative.'" Salaried Employees of North America v. Illinois Local Labor Relations Board (1990), 202 Ill. App. 3d 1013, 1021, 148 Ill. Dec. 329, 560 N.E.2d 926, quoting Board of Regents of ...


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