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Chicago Transit Authority v. Amalgamated Transit Union

October 26, 1998


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Tully

Petition for Review of an Order of the Illinois Local Labor Relations Board.

Case No. L-CA-96-078

"Petitioner, the Chicago Transit Authority, appeals a decision of the Illinois Local Labor Relations Board (Board), which found that petitioner breached its duty to bargain in good faith with the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 241 (Union) in violation of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Act) (5 ILCS 315/1 et seq. (West 1996)). On February 9, 1996, the Union filed unfair labor practice charges against petitioner. On January 14, 1997, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued a recommended decision and order which advised the dismissal of the unfair labor practice charges. After the Union filed exceptions to certain recommendations, the Board issued its decision and order on July 21, 1997. The Board held that petitioner violated section 10(a)(4) of the Act by failing to bargain with the Union before it implemented a job reclassification. Petitioner appeals the Board's decision pursuant to section 11(e) of the Act (5 ILCS 315/11(e) (West 1996)) and Supreme Court Rule 335 (134 Ill. 2d R. 335)."

For the reasons which follow, we affirm.


Under the Act, petitioner is a public employer, and because it is a unit of local government with a population of over one million, it falls under the Board's jurisdiction. 5 ILCS 315/3(o), 5(b) and 20(b) (West 1996). The Union is the exclusive representative of certain of petitioner's employees, including those who are classified as Contract Clerk I and Contract Clerk II. Petitioner and the Union were parties to a collective bargaining agreement (Agreement) which was effective beginning January 1, 1993 through December 31, 1995. The Agreement provided that petitioner would pay wages to its union employees according to their job classification as follows:

"3.1 BI-WEEKLY PAY During the term of this Agreement, [petitioner] shall, bi-weekly, pay the employees in this unit according to classification, the date of hire and length of service, the wages and salaries as shown in the attached wages and salaries lists for each contract year of the Agreement."

In addition, the Agreement provided that employees who perform the functions of a higher-graded classification were to be dual-rated, or paid at the rate of the higher-graded classification as follows:


Employees who are temporarily assigned to duties which require using skills for higher rated work other than those contained in their job description shall be paid at the higher rate. If on any day an employee performs such work for more than three (3) hours the employee shall be paid at the higher rate for the entire day, provided that time and one- half the higher rate will be paid for all time worked in excess of eight (8) hours per day."

In 1995, petitioner's purchasing department was staffed with five contract clerks who provided clerical and administrative support for procurement administrators. Procurement administrators are responsible for reviewing bids and awarding contracts for petitioner's purchase of parts, supplies, and services. All five contract clerks had the same duties and responsibilities, and none of them had supervisory responsibilities. The five clerks had different job titles, pay grades, and wages, however. Grade 5 pay was higher than Grade 4 pay. Some clerks were dual-rated, which meant that they were classified as Grade 4, but received Grade 5 pay when they performed Grade 5 duties. Toni Shelby was a Contract Clerk I, Grade 4; Valerie Townsend, Aracelia Gaeta, and Annie Perez were classified as Contract Clerk II, Grade 4; and Rosalba Marton was a Contract Clerk II, Grade 5. Marton was paid at a full grade 5 rate. Townsend, Gaeta, and Perez had dual-rated pay status pursuant to section 4.12 of the Agreement and were paid at a grade 5 rate for all hours worked and received grade 4 pay for sick time, vacation, and holiday pay. Townsend had been dual-rated since 1992, Gaeta since 1990, and Perez since 1990 or 1991. Shelby had been a Contract Clerk I, Grade 4 in the purchasing department since August 1993. Shelby did not have dual-rated pay status, however, and received only grade 4 pay.

Since 1993, Shelby had been complaining to both her manager and Union executive board member that she wanted to be dual-rated. On February 6, 1995, William Roman, petitioner's General Manager, Quality Assurance, sent a memorandum to Thomas Czech, petitioner's Vice- President, Human Resources, requesting a job study on the duties of the Contract Clerk I and Contract Clerk II positions. Roman noted in the memorandum that Townsend, Perez, and Gaeta had been "consistently dual- rated," but Shelby had not. According to Roman, a management review of the job descriptions for the two positions "reveal[ed] many similarities between both descriptions, as well as, some functions which are no longer valid." He requested the job study "to accurately rate each incumbents' level of responsibility" so that petitioner could "assure equity among all incumbents."

On February 7, 1995, Shelby filed a grievance with the Union, seeking to be dual-rated as a Contract Clerk II, Grade 5. In the grievance, Shelby stated that "[b]oth the Contract Clerk I and Contract Clerk II job responsibilities are currently the same and have been since the restructuring of the Purchasing Department." She also stated that "we all have the same job responsibilities." On February 9, 1995, Williams and Shelby presented the grievance to Shelby's supervisor, Ron Tabor, who agreed with the grievance and promised to discuss it with the General Manager of Purchasing, Ed Gronkowski. Gronkowski also agreed with the grievance and promised to submit a request to Roman to make Shelby dual-rated.

Meanwhile, petitioner's Human Resources Department conducted the job study. For the study, Sameena Noetzel, an industrial organizational psychologist employed by petitioner, sent detailed questionnaires to the contract clerks. When the clerks received the questionnaires in late February 1995, they met with Abner Williams, a member of the Union's executive board. Williams explained that the questions were for a job study and that it could result in a reclassification of the contract clerk positions. Noetzel analyzed the responses to the questionnaires and determined that the actual job duties performed by the five contract clerks were similar. She submitted the redrafted job description to three other CTA industrial organizational psychologists for their assistance in determining the appropriate pay grade for the position. Although Noetzel rated the contract clerk position a grade 5, the composite from the other psychologists resulted in a grade 4 rating. Noetzel therefore recommended that the position receive grade 4 pay. The general manager of personnel programs and the vice-president of human ...

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