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The Board of Education of Peoria School v. the Peoria Federation of Support Staff

July 25, 2012

THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF PEORIA SCHOOL
DISTRICT NO. 150, PEORIA COUNTY, ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
THE PEORIA FEDERATION OF SUPPORT STAFF, SECURITY/POLICEMEN'S BENEVOLENT AND PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION UNIT NO. 114; THE ILLINOIS EDUCATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD; AND THE ILLINOIS LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, STATE PANEL,
DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 11MR106 Honorable John Schmidt, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cook

JUSTICE COOK delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Steigmann and Appleton concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 This appeal concerns the validity of Public Act No. 96-1257 (Pub. Act 96-1257, § 5 (eff. July 23, 2010) (amending section 3 of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Public Labor Relations Act) (5 ILCS 315/3 (West 2010)) and the jurisdictions of the Illinois Labor Relations Board and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (Educational Labor Relations Board) with respect to police and security officers employed directly by school districts. Public Act No. 96-1257 expands the scope of the Public Labor Relations Act and the jurisdiction of the Illinois Labor Relations Board by reclassifying as public employees certain peace officers previously considered educational-not public-employees. Under the Public Labor Relations Act as amended, these peace officers, their employers, and the relations between them are now governed by the Public Labor Relations Act, rather than the previously applicable Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (Educational Labor Relations Act) (115 ILCS 5/1 to 21 (West 2010)), and overseen by the Illinois Labor Relations Board, rather than the Educational Labor Relations Board.

¶ 2 In March 2011, plaintiff, the Board of Education of Peoria School District No. 150, Peoria County, Illinois, filed a two-count complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against defendants, the Peoria Federation of Support Staff, Security/Policemen's Benevolent and Protective Association Unit No. 114 (Unit No. 114); the Educational Labor Relations Board; and the Illinois Labor Relations Board, State Panel. In count I, plaintiff challenged the constitutionality of Public Act No. 96-1257, claiming it violates the prohibition against special legislation (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, § 13). In count II, plaintiff alleged that the Educational Labor Relations Board, not the Illinois Labor Relations Board, had exclusive administrative jurisdiction over unfair labor practice claims between plaintiff and Unit No. 114 and any relevant bargaining-unit determinations, notwithstanding the amendatory public act. In September 2011, the trial court granted the labor boards' motion to dismiss both counts of the complaint. Plaintiff appeals. We agree with plaintiff that dismissal was improper and, accordingly, reverse and remand.

¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 4 According to the complaint, plaintiff is the only Illinois school district that maintains its own police force-that is, employs officers directly. (In general, other districts obtain police protection for their schools by coordinating with local police departments.) Currently, plaintiff's police force consists of 26 officers who have received or have been scheduled to receive instruction under the Illinois Police Training Act (50 ILCS 705/1 to 12 (West 2010)). Since 1989, officers employed by plaintiff have been represented by iterations of a union certified by the Educational Labor Relations Board. These bargaining units have been responsible for entering collective-bargaining agreements regarding the conditions of officers' employment with plaintiff. The most recent such agreement expired on June 30, 2010.

¶ 5 In December 2010, plaintiff and Unit No. 114 began negotiating a new collective-bargaining agreement. Negotiations broke down when plaintiff ceased allowing members of Unit No. 114 to attend negotiations during work hours. In a December 2010 letter to plaintiff, a union representative stated, "I am prepared to file a charge, duplicate if necessary with the [Educational Labor Relations Board] and the [Illinois Labor Relations Board], over the District's retaliation to the unit by threatening to discontinue the status quo for bargaining during working hours."

¶ 6 A further dispute arose regarding which labor relations act-Public or Educational-governed negotiations. This question turned on the applicability of Public Act No. 96-1257. The union maintained that, pursuant to Public Act No. 96-1257, negotiations fell under the Public Labor Relations Act. Plaintiff maintained the Educational Labor Relations Act continued to apply to the bargaining because the public act (1) was unenforceable, unconstitutional special legislation and (2) did not apply, by its terms, to plaintiff and Unit No. 114. On March 3, 2011, Unit No. 114 applied for certification with the Illinois Labor Relations Board as the bargaining representative of "[a]ll full-time and part-time guards, agents, security and police employees" employed by plaintiff-the bargaining unit previously certified by the Educational Labor Relations Board.

¶ 7 On March 15, 2011, plaintiff filed its two-count complaint against Unit No. 114 and the labor boards. In count I, plaintiff alleged Public Act No. 96-1257 was unconstitutional. Plaintiff sought, in part, a declaration of the statute's unconstitutionality and an injunction against its enforcement. In count II, plaintiff alleged Public Act No. 96-1257 was inapplicable. Plaintiff sought, in part, a declaration that the officers it employs are not covered by the statutory amendment and that the Educational Labor Relations Board continued to have exclusive jurisdiction over labor disputes between plaintiff and Unit No. 114 and an injunction barring the Illinois Labor Relations Board from asserting jurisdiction over the parties.

¶ 8 In April 2011, the labor boards filed a motion to dismiss under section 2-615 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 2010)). They contended that the facts alleged in each count of the complaint, if proved, would not state a claim for relief. That same month, Unit No. 114 filed a separate section 2-615 motion to dismiss, appending materials it alleged refuted plaintiff's claim that the public act did not apply to the parties. In September 2011, the trial court denied Unit No. 114's motion but granted the boards', dismissing the action with prejudice.

¶ 9 This appeal followed.

¶ 10 II. ANALYSIS

ΒΆ 11 On appeal, plaintiff argues each count of its complaint alleged facts sufficient to state a ...


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