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Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 241 v. The Illinois Labor Relations Board

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

March 27, 2017


         Petition for Review of an Order of the Illinois Labor Relations Board Local Panel Labor Relations Board Local Panel No. L-CA-14-022

          JUSTICE MIKVA delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Connors and Justice Harris concurred in the judgment and opinion



         ¶ 1 The Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 241 (Union), brought an unfair labor practice charge against the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) for violating the parties' collective bargaining agreement and failing to bargain with the Union when the CTA implemented an open fare payment collection system, known as Ventra. The Ventra contract resulted in the CTA eliminating Union positions and subcontracting what had been Union jobs to a private company. The Illinois Labor Relations Board (Board) dismissed the unfair labor practice complaint based on the subcontracting of Union jobs as untimely because the charge was not filed within six months of the date that the Union received a copy of a request for proposals (RFP) for Ventra from the CTA. The Board then dismissed the rest of the complaint because it determined that the elimination of Union positions was not a mandatory subject of bargaining. The Union appealed the Board's decision to this court directly. For the following reasons, we hold that the Union's charge as to subcontracting was timely filed and remand for further consideration by the Board of all of the Union's claims within its charge.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 A. The Stipulated Facts

         ¶ 4 The following facts are part of the stipulated record agreed to by both the Union and the CTA for its hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).

         ¶ 5 i. The Collective Bargaining Agreements

         ¶ 6 The Union and the CTA were parties to a collective bargaining agreement with a term of January 1, 2007, through December 31, 2011. Article II, section 2.7, of that agreement provided, in pertinent part:

"2.7 SUBCONTRACTING The Authority shall not subcontract or assign to others work which is normally and regularly performed by employees within the collective bargaining unit of Local 241, except in cases of emergency when the work or service required cannot be performed by the available complement of unit members. The Authority reserves the right to continue its present practice of contracting out certain work of the nature and type contracted out in the past."

         The 2007-2011 collective bargaining agreement also provided for a "grievance procedure culminating in final and binding arbitration."

         ¶ 7 In December 2012, the Union and the CTA signed a tentative agreement for a successor collective bargaining agreement with a stated term from January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2015. The tentative agreement was ratified by both the Union's membership and the Chicago Transit Board that same month. It did not alter the language of article II, section 2.7, as it appeared in the 2007-2011 collective bargaining agreement and also provided for a "grievance procedure culminating in final and binding arbitration."

         ¶ 8 ii. The Open Fare Payment Collection System

         ¶ 9 According to the stipulated record, beginning in 2009, Chicago newspapers published articles about the development of "a single smart card" for use on the CTA, Pace suburban bus lines, and the Metra commuter rail system. In a press release issued on August 12, 2009, the CTA stated that the transition to the new system "would save the CTA in money now used to issue fare media and manage the fare payment and collection system." The CTA explained that the project would have two phases, stating:

"The first phase of the procurement process will examine the CTA's options for developing the card-considering possible procedures, management and cost of the program. After reviewing these proposals and developing a final plan, the second phase will give companies the opportunity to submit proposals for the actual implementation of the program."

         The CTA concluded that it expected "to complete the two-step RFP process and begin the transition to an open fare system [the following] summer." Later that same month, on August 24, the CTA issued its RFP for the first phase of the project.

         ¶ 10 On September 28, 2010, the CTA issued a press release, published on its website, stating that it was "preparing the next phase of its move toward an open fare payment [collection] system" and that, on that day, it was "issuing a Request for Proposal *** on the design, implementation, and operation of an open fare [payment] collection system." In its press release, the CTA also indicated that during the "first phase of the bid process, [it] received initial proposals from 12 private sector teams interested in partnering with the agency on the design, implementation, and operation of an open fare payment collection system."

         ¶ 11 The CTA's follow-up RFP, titled "Request for Proposals (RFP) Step Two to Provide an Open Fare Payment Collection System, " is the RFP that the CTA forwarded to the Union and that the Board found triggered the statute of limitations. The RFP cover page indicated that the CTA was "seeking proposals for the subject project" and that proposals would be accepted until November 5, 2010. The RFP itself was 190 pages and attached 24 appendices totaling over 300 additional pages. Page 23 of the RFP stated, in relevant part, that to achieve its business goals:

"CTA requires that the Contractor propose a business, technical, and operating solution that would design, finance, acquire, implement, certify, operate, maintain, repair, upgrade, and replace a fully operational [open fare payment collection system], according to the business and technical criteria. Upon full implementation of the [system], *** the Contractor will have full responsibility for successful operation, maintenance, repair and replacement of the [system] including the provision of all required support functions needed to meet the Performance Standards."

         The CTA further indicated on page 23 of the RFP that the contractor would supply support functions for the system, including the "[p]rocessing of all payments, electronic and cash, due to CTA from the [system]."

         ¶ 12 On September 29, 2010, the CTA's then-vice president of human relations, Robert Gierut, mailed a copy of the RFP to the then-president of the Union, Darrell Jefferson. In his letter, Mr. Gierut simply stated that he was "confirm[ing] transmittal of a copy of the *** RFP for [Mr. Jefferson's] review" and that Mr. Jefferson should "feel free to contact the Project Manager" with any questions about the RFP.

         ¶ 13 iii. Ventra Implementation and Abolishment of Union Jobs

         ¶ 14 In July 2011, Public Act 97-85 was enacted, amending section 2.04 of the Regional Transportation Authority Act (70 ILCS 3615/2.04 (West 2010)) to require that the CTA "develop and implement a regional fare payment system" by January 1, 2015. Pub. Act 97-85, § 10 (eff. July 7, 2011).

         ¶ 15 The Chicago Transit Board enacted ordinance No. 011-143 in November 2011, stating that it had "identified Cubic Transportation Systems Chicago, Inc. as the contractor whose proposal best meets the [CTA]'s requirements to provide the [open fare payment collection system]." Chicago Transit Board Ordinance No. 011-143 (approved Nov. 15, 2011). The ordinance authorized the CTA to enter into a contract with Cubic Transportation Systems. Id.

         ¶ 16 At the same time, the CTA issued a press release about the ordinance, stating that it had "approved an agreement to implement a new, open standards based fare-collection system" and that it had "awarded the $454 million contract to Cubic Transportation Systems." The Chicago Tribune also ran an article that day about the expected approval of the "$454 million, 12-year contract for a new fare-collection system." Jon Hilkevitch, CTA plan would let riders pay fares with credit cards, Chi. Trib. (Nov. 15, 2011), http://ar ...

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