Administrative Review of The Illinois State Labor Relations Board No. SRC9964
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Steigmann
In June 1999, the Illinois State Labor Relations Board (Public Labor Board) granted a representation and certification petition filed by the Policemen's Benevolent Labor Committee (Union), seeking to represent a bargaining unit of all full-time and part-time police officers of the City of Tuscola (City). City of Tuscola, 15 Pub. Employee Rep. (Ill.) par. 2034, No. S-RC-99-64 (Illinois State Labor Relations Board, June 29, 1999). The City petitions for administrative review, arguing that the Public Labor Board does not have jurisdiction over the City. We agree and reverse.
In January 1999, the Union filed its representation and certification petition with the Public Labor Board, pursuant to the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Public Labor Act) (5 ILCS 315/1 et seq. (West 1998)) and its rules and regulations (80 Ill. Adm. Code §§1200.10 through 1230.220 (1997)). The Union sought to represent a bargaining unit of all full-time and part-time sworn police officers of the City below the rank of chief of police.
In March 1999, the City filed a motion to dismiss the Union's petition, asserting that the Public Labor Board lacks jurisdiction because the City is a municipality with fewer than 35 employees, the threshold jurisdictional requirement under section 20(b) of the Public Labor Act. 5 ILCS 315/20(b) (West 1998). Later that month, an administrative law judge (ALJ) conducted a hearing on the City's motion to determine whether various City employees were "employees" or "short-term employees" under the Public Labor Act (5 ILCS 315/3(n), (q) (West 1998)). "Short-term employees" are not counted as "employees" under section 20(b) of the Public Labor Act. 5 ILCS 315/20(b) (West 1998).
At the hearing, city administrator Drew Hoel and councilpersons Phyllis Truitt and Boyd Henderson testified for the City. A summary of their testimony pertinent to this appeal follows.
The City operates a swimming pool from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year. The City employs part-time lifeguards, pool maintenance workers, concession workers, cashiers, and workers identified only as "basket workers" for the summer season. Most pool employees are students who work part-time hours because of their other jobs and commitments. Pool employees are paid on an hourly basis.
Each spring, the City solicits applicants for pool positions by placing an ad in the local newspaper. The City requires rehires and new applicants to follow the same application procedure. Interviews are not required for new applicants or rehires.
A committee of the city council makes all hiring decisions. After the application deadline, the committee meets with the pool manager to review the applications and considers (1) whether the applicant lives in town; (2) whether the applicant has lifeguard certification; and (3) regarding an applicant who had previously worked at the pool, the pool manager's recommendation. The pool manager tells the committee whether the applicant (1) was a good worker, (2) was reliable, and (3) had a good attitude.
Each witness testified that pool employees were not told that they would automatically be rehired in subsequent years. Members of the hiring committee neither made commitments nor took affirmative acts to indicate to pool employees that they would be rehired in the future. Although some former pool employees were not rehired, most were rehired if they reapplied. Some worked at the pool for four or five consecutive summers.
The Union presented no evidence that contradicted this testimony, and no pool employees testified.
In May 1999, the ALJ issued his recommended decision and order. The ALJ found, in pertinent part, that 21 pool employees had a reasonable assurance of being rehired and therefore were not short-term employees, as defined in section 3(q) of the Public Labor Act. 5 ILCS 315/3(q) (West 1998). Thus, the ALJ concluded that because the City employs more than 35 employees, the Public Labor Board had jurisdiction over the City.
In June 1999, the Public Labor Board adopted the ALJ's findings of fact and conclusions of law. It then granted the Union's petition and directed that a ...