Petition for Review from the Board, State Panel No. S CA 09 007
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Murphy
JUSTICE MURPHY delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Presiding Justice Quinn and Justice Neville concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 Petitioner, the Village of Oak Lawn, appeals from an order of the Illinois Labor Relations Board, State Panel (Board), in which it determined that petitioner had violated sections 10(a)(1) and 10(a)(4) of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Act) (5 ILCS 315/10(a)(1), (a)(4) (West 2006)) by failing to bargain in good faith over a provision in its collective bargaining agreement with the Oak Lawn Professional Firefighters Association, Local 3405, International Association of Firefighters (Union). On appeal, petitioner contends that the Board erred in determining that it engaged in an unfair labor practice by refusing to bargain with Union where the provision at issue did not concern a mandatory bargaining subject. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.*fn1
¶ 3 At all relevant times, the Union was the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit comprised of firefighters and fire lieutenants employed by petitioner. Petitioner and the Union were parties to a collective bargaining agreement setting out the terms and conditions of employment for the bargaining unit from January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2006. Section 7.9 of the agreement, which is titled "Minimum Manning," provided:
a. "The parties recognize that for purposes of efficient response to emergency situations and for reasons of employee safety, sufficient personnel and apparatus need to be maintained in a state of readiness at all times. If the number of on duty personnel falls below the daily minimums, employees shall be hired back pursuant to section 6.4. 'Overtime Distribution.'
b. The Village shall exercise its best efforts to maintain the following apparatus minimum manning requirements:
On each engine: four (4) employees One [sic] each ALS ambulance: two (2) paramedics (EMTP)
One [sic] each BLS ambulance: two (2) employees (EMTA or EMTP) On each squad: three (3) employees
c. The Village shall exercise its best efforts to maintain at a minimum the following employees in the described ranks: twelve (12) Lieutenants eighteen (18) Engineers twenty-four (24) Firefighter/Paramedics."
¶ 4 In late 2006 or early 2007, petitioner and the Union commenced negotiations on a collective bargaining agreement to succeed the 2003-06 agreement. The parties were unable to resolve the terms of that agreement and engaged in interest arbitration proceedings pursuant to section 14 of the Act (5 ILCS 315/14 (West 2006)). On July 9, 2008, the Union filed a charge with the Board and against petitioner in which it asserted that petitioner had declared that it was declining to negotiate further over section 7.9, which was to be unilaterally deleted from the contract. The Union alleged that by doing so, petitioner had failed to bargain in good faith and had therefore committed an unfair labor practice in violation of sections 10(a)(1) and 10(a)(4) of the Act. The Executive Director of the Board issued an order holding the charge in abeyance until the completion of the arbitration process.
¶ 5 In November 2008, the parties entered into a successor collective bargaining agreement, in which they acknowledged that petitioner had informed the Union that it considered the matters covered in section 7.9 of the predecessor agreement to constitute permissive topics of bargaining. The parties further acknowledged that the Union disputed petitioner's position on the matter and proposed that the text of section 7.9 be included in the successor agreement. In addition, petitioner agreed that if it were determined to have violated the law by deleting section 7.9, it would be liable to make affected employees whole and would abide by the ...