Review of the Illinois Labor Relations Board No. S-CA-09-250 No. S-CB-09-038
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Pope
(No. 4-11-0612) ) (No. 4-11-0659) )
JUSTICE POPE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Justices Steigmann and McCullough concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 In June 2009, John Michels, petitioner, filed unfair labor practice charges with the Illinois Labor Relations Board (Board) against both his employer, the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) (acting on behalf of the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC)), in case No. S-CA-09-250 (appellate court case No. 4-11-0612), and his labor union, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 (Union), in case No. S-CB-09-038 (appellate court case No. 4-11-0659) stemming from his May 2008 discharge.
¶ 2 In January 2011, the Board's Executive Director (Director) dismissed both charges, finding the charge against CMS untimely and the charge against the Union unsubstantiated. Petitioner appealed the Director's findings to the Board and the Board affirmed. John Michels, 28 PERI ¶ 10, No. S-CA-09-250 (ILRB State Panel 2011); John Michels, 28 PERI
¶ 12, S-CB-09-038 (ILRB State Panel 2011).
¶ 3 Petitioner appeals the Board's decisions, arguing (1) the unfair labor practices complaint against CMS was timely filed (No. 4-11-0612) and (2) he raised sufficient facts to warrant issuance of an unfair labor practice complaint against the Union (No. 4-11-0659). Because both charges were predicated on the same set of facts, we granted petitioner's motion to consolidate the cases for purposes of this appeal. We affirm.
¶ 5 A. Petitioner's Discharge
Petitioner was employed as a senior parole agent with DOC. Through his employment he belonged to the Union.
¶ 6 On April 20, 2007, petitioner was placed on 10 1/2 months of paid administrative leave. Petitioner returned to work on May 2, 2008.
¶ 7 On May 20, 2008, CMS discharged petitioner, citing various acts of misconduct involving several parolees that occurred prior to his being placed on administrative leave. Information discovered by CMS and the Illinois State Police during the investigation of petitioner's misconduct revealed acts of misconduct, including excessive use of force, socializing with committed persons, trafficking, filing false reports, verbal and physical harassment of parolees, and various civil rights violations. All of these acts were characterized as blatant violations of DOC's standards of conduct. ¶ 8 Specifically, the documentation contained in the record shows petitioner was discharged for, inter alia, the following reasons: (1) acting unprofessionally in a parolee's home by calling the parolee inappropriate names, searching the home without permission, and knocking the parolee's hat off his head while he was handcuffed; (2) exposing himself and urinating in the presence of a female parolee and having an unusual number of contacts with that same parolee in that he visited her daily, transported her to a drug treatment facility on his day off, and continued to visit her after she moved out of his territory; (3) failing to follow procedures by leaving urinanalysis cups with a parolee's grandmother so she could test the parolee; (4) threatening to introduce drugs into a parolee's residence, searching that residence without consent, being rude and abusive to the civilians present, and grabbing the parolee by his shirt and throwing him against the wall; (5) allowing a parolee to reside in Missouri without formal approval, telling the parolee not to tell anyone he was letting the parolee do so, and telling the parolee not to use the 800 number and instead to contact petitioner on his cell phone; (6) providing false information to his supervisor; and (7) having illegal drugs in his state vehicle when it was confiscated.
¶ 9 This information was made available to the Union during the grievance process. CMS also referred some incidents to the Montgomery County State's Attorney. However, the State's Attorney declined to criminally prosecute petitioner.
¶ 10 Thereafter, the Union grieved petitioner's discharge. However, in a December 2, 2008, letter, the Union notified petitioner it was not going to pursue his grievance to arbitration. Specifically, the letter stated the following:
"This is to inform you that, after careful review of the facts and evidence concerning your discharge from the State of Illinois and the resulting grievance, the Union has determined that your case cannot be successfully argued at arbitration. We forcefully argued your case in an effort to convince the Employer to reverse the discharge. However, when management remained adamant and would not modify its position, the Union determined, based on the merits of the case, not to pursue your grievance further."
The Union negotiated a resolution allowing petitioner to submit a written resignation by December 15, 2008. Upon receipt of petitioner's resignation, DOC would purge his personnel records of any mention of discharge for cause. Petitioner received the letter and proposed ...