Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division
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Appeal fro the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 12 CR 5504. Honorable Lee Preston, Judge Presiding.
A petitioning union's action seeking to compel arbitration of respondent transportation authority's decision to abolish the position of construction inspector was properly dismissed, notwithstanding the fact that two union members with many years of service were terminated as a result, since the abolishment of the position was conducted pursuant to the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act, a statute distinct from the parties' collective bargaining agreement, and the decision was not related to any of the terms of the parties' collective bargaining agreement or subject to arbitration under the agreement.
For Appellant: David Huffman-Gottschling, of counsel, Jacobs, Burns, Orlove & Hernandez, Chicago, Illinois.
For Appellee: James P. Daley, David M. Novak, James D. Thomas, of counsel, Schuyler, Roche & Crishan, P.C., Chicago, Illinois.
JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Connors and Justice Hoffman concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] This appeal arises from a July 9, 2012 order entered by the circuit court of Cook County which dismissed, with prejudice, the petition to compel arbitration filed by petitioner-appellant Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 241 (Local 241). On appeal, Local 241 argues that: (1) the trial court erred in dismissing its petition to compel arbitration because the parties agreed to arbitrate the grievance which alleged violations of the parties' collective bargaining agreement (CBA); (2) the trial court erred in dismissing its petition to compel arbitration because section 28 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act (70 ILCS 3605/28 (West 2010)) did not extinguish respondent-appellee, Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) duty to collectively bargain with Local 241; and (3) the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel did not bar its petition to compel arbitration. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County.
[¶3] CTA is a political subdivision, body politic, and municipal corporation created under the laws of the state of Illinois that provides mass public transportation for the people of the metropolitan area of Chicago. Local 241, along with Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 308 (Local 308) are the sole and exclusive bargaining agents for all of CTA's employees except for certain executive, professional, supervisory, and confidential personnel. CTA, Local 241 and Local 308 are all parties to the CBA. According to its terms, the CBA was in full force and effect from January 1, 2007 until December 31, 2011, and from year to year thereafter. On November 15, 2011, CTA passed ordinance No. 011-142, which abolished the employment position of " Construction Inspector IV" (construction inspector position). The abolishment of the construction inspector position caused the termination of 27-year CTA employee James Gress (Gress), and 19-year CTA employee Jeffrey Sojka (Sojka). Ordinance No. 011-142 was passed pursuant to section 28 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act. The Metropolitan Transit Authority Act mandates that the Chicago Transit Board (Board) is the governing and administrative body of CTA. 70 ILCS 3605/19 (West 2010). Section 28 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act states, in pertinent part, as follows:
" The Board may abolish any vacant or occupied office or position. Additionally, the Board may reduce the force of employees for lack of work or lack of funds as determined by the Board. *** When employees are represented by a labor organization that has a labor agreement with [CTA], the wages, hours, and working conditions (including, but not limited to, seniority rights) shall be governed by the terms of the agreement." 70 ILCS 3605/28 (West 2010).
[¶4] On November 17, 2011, Local 241 submitted a grievance to CTA on behalf of Gress and Sojka. The grievance alleged that the abolishment of the construction inspector position violated sections 2.7 and 12.8 of the CBA. Sections 2.7 and 12.8 of the CBA state as follows:
" 2.7 SUBCONTRACTING [CTA] shall not subcontract or assign to others work which is normally and regularly performed by employees within the collective bargaining unit of Local 241 or of Local 308 ***.
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12.8 LAYOFFS In all cases where employees are laid off to reduce the force, they shall be laid off according to seniority, and when they are put back on, they shall be reinstated according to his or her seniority standing at the time he or she was laid off.
During the term of the Agreement, there shall be no layoff of any permanent, full-time bargaining unit employee who on January 1, 2000 had one (1) or ...