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09/06/95 BLACK HAWK COLLEGE PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL

September 6, 1995

BLACK HAWK COLLEGE PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL UNIT, AND BLACK HAWK COLLEGE TEACHERS' UNION LOCAL NO. 1836, IFT-AFT, AFL-CIO, PETITIONERS-APPELLANTS,
v.
STATE OF ILLINOIS EDUCATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, AND BLACK HAWK COLLEGE, RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES.



Petition for Review of Opinion and Order of the State of Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board.

Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied December 6, 1995.

The Honorable Justice Rizzi delivered the opinion of the court: Greiman, P.j., and Tully, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rizzi

The Honorable Justice RIZZI delivered the opinion of the court:

Black Hawk College Professional Technical Unit (PRO/TECH), filed a self-determination petition with the State of Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (the Board). The petition seeks to merge as a bargaining unit PRO/TECH, which is a bargaining unit of professional and technical employees at Black Hawk College (College), with another bargaining unit, Black Hawk College Teachers Union (TEACHERS), which is composed of the full-time faculty of the College. Both bargaining units belong to the same labor union, Local No. 1836, Illinois Federation of Teachers-American Federation of Teachers (IFT-AFT), AFL-CIO.

The Board ruled that section 7(d) of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (115 ILCS 5/7(d) (West 1992)) (Act) did not bar the petition, but it also ruled that the merger of PRO/TECH and TEACHERS would not form an appropriate bargaining unit because they do not share a sufficient community of interest and, therefore, dismissed the petition.

PRO/TECH and TEACHERS filed in the appellate court a petition for direct review of the Board's order pursuant to S. Ct. Rule 335, challenging the Board's dismissal of the self-determination petition to merge. See 115 ILCS 5/16(a) (West 1992). The College also filed in the appellate court a petition for direct review of the Board's order pursuant to S. Ct. Rule 335, challenging the Board's ruling that the self-determination petition to merge is not barred by section 7(d) of the Act. See 115 ILCS 5/16(a) (West 1992). The Board was named as a respondent in each of the two appeals pursuant to the joinder requirement of S. Ct. Rule 335(a). The two appeals have been consolidated.

We affirm the Board's ruling that section 7(d) of the Act does not bar the self-determination petition to merge; we reverse the Board's dismissal of the self-determination petition to merge and hold that the merger of PRO/TECH and TEACHERS is an appropriate bargaining unit; and we remand to the Board with directions to hold an election to merge as requested by the self-determination petition and as provided by the Act, and for such further proceedings as the Board shall determine.

The College is a fully accredited community college situated on two separate campuses. There is a campus in Moline, Illinois and another campus in Kewanee, Illinois. The College also operates five off-campus programs in the surrounding areas.

Generally, the College has a small campus environment. It has the equivalent of about 8,000 full-time students, and it employs about 750 people. It offers associate degree programs in arts, liberal studies, applied science, and science; it also offers career program certificates. Its fall and spring semesters are 16 weeks long. It also has an 8-week summer session, and a 6-week inter-session between the spring and summer terms.

Both PRO/TECH and TEACHERS have been certified pursuant to the Act as exclusive representatives of the union for the employees that they represent at the College. PRO/TECH has been the exclusive union representative at the College for non-teaching professional and technical employees since 1990. Currently, there are about45 employees in PRO/TECH. TEACHERS has been the exclusive union representative for all full-time faculty members at the College since 1984. Currently, there are about 165 full-time faculty employees in TEACHERS.

In addition to PRO/TECH and TEACHERS, there are three other union unit bargaining representatives at the College: a unit of part-time faculty members; a unit of public safety employees; and a unit of nonprofessional support staff employees. Like TEACHERS and PRO/TECH, the units for the part-time faculty members and the public safety employees are part of Local No. 1836, IFT-AFT, AFL-CIO.

The petition that was filed by PRO/TECH to merge PRO/TECH and TEACHERS into a single bargaining unit of Local No. 1836, IFT-AFT, AFL-CIO, is called a petition for self-determination pursuant to the Act. A petition seeking the merger of existing bargaining units is classified as a self-determination petition if there is no question concerning representation. 80 Ill. Admin. Code ยง 1110.180(b) (1992).

We first address whether the Board erred in ruling that section 7(d) of the Act does not bar the petition filed by PRO/TECH. Section 7(d) provides:

No election may be conducted in any bargaining unit during the term of a collective bargaining agreement covering such unit or subdivision thereof, except the Board may direct an election after the filing of a petition between January 15 and March 1 of the final year of a collective bargaining agreement.

It is undisputed that the petition in the present case was not filed between January 15 and March 15 of the final year of the collective bargaining agreement of either PRO/TECH or TEACHERS. Thus, the part of section 7(d) that is in dispute here is the part that states that "no election may be conducted in any bargaining unit during the term of a collective bargaining agreement covering such unit or subdivision thereof." This ...


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