County of Du Page v. Illinois Labor rel., No. 105395.

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtFitzgerald
Citation231 Ill.2d 593,900 N.E.2d 1095
PartiesThe COUNTY OF DU PAGE et al., Appellees, v. The ILLINOIS LABOR RELATIONS BOARD et al., Appellants.
Decision Date18 December 2008
Docket NumberNo. 105395.
900 N.E.2d 1095
231 Ill.2d 593
The COUNTY OF DU PAGE et al., Appellees,
v.
The ILLINOIS LABOR RELATIONS BOARD et al., Appellants.
No. 105395.
Supreme Court of Illinois.
December 18, 2008.

[900 N.E.2d 1097]

Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, Springfield (Michael A. Scodro, Solicitor General, Jerald S. Post, Assistant Attorney General, Chicago, of counsel), and Joseph R. Mazzone, of Schenk Duffy Carey Ford Mazzone Phelan & Clemens Ltd., Joliet, for appellants.

Joseph E. Birkett, State's Attorney, Wheaton (Lisa Ann Hoffman, Assistant State's Attorney, of counsel), James Baird and James J. Powers, of Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Chicago, for appellees.

Gilbert Feldman, Chicago, for amici curiae Illinois State Federation of Labor et al.

Roger Huebner, Springfield, for amicus curiae Illinois Municipal League.

Michael I. Richardson, Terrence T. Creamer, Jennifer A. Niemiec, of Franczek Sullivan P.C., Chicago, for amicus curiae Illinois Public Employer Labor Relations Association.

OPINION

Chief Justice FITZGERALD delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion:


The Illinois Labor Relations Board, State Panel (the Board), and the Metropolitan Alliance of Police, Du Page County Sheriff's Police Chapter #126 (MAP or the Union) appeal from a judgment of the appellate court vacating the Board's certification of MAP as the exclusive bargaining representative for a unit of deputy sheriffs employed by the County of Du Page and the sheriff of Du Page County (collectively, the Employer) (375 Ill.App.3d 765, 314 Ill.Dec. 409, 874 N.E.2d 319). At issue is the proper interpretation of section 9(a-5) of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (5 ILCS 315/9(a-5) (West 2004)).

For the reasons discussed below, we reverse the judgment of the appellate court, and remand to the appellate court for further review.

900 N.E.2d 1098
BACKGROUND

The Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (the Act) grants public employees "full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing for the purposes of negotiating wages, hours and other conditions of employment." 5 ILCS 315/2 (West 2004). Prior to the adoption of section 9(a-5) of the Act (see Pub. Act 93-444, eff. August 5, 2003), unless a public employee was a member of a historically recognized bargaining unit, or the public employer voluntarily recognized a labor organization as the exclusive bargaining representative for a unit of employees, the only means available for public employees to exercise their collective-bargaining rights was through a secret ballot election. See 5 ILCS 315/3(f), 9(d), (f) (West 2002). When the legislature enacted section 9(a-5), it provided public employees and labor organizations an alternative to the election process. Section 9(a-5) states:

"The [Illinois Labor Relations] Board shall designate an exclusive representative for purposes of collective bargaining when the representative demonstrates a showing of majority interest by employees in the unit. If the parties to a dispute are without agreement on the means to ascertain the choice, if any, of employee organization as their representative, the Board shall ascertain the employees' choice of employee organization, on the basis of dues deduction authorization and other evidence, or, if necessary, by conducting an election. If either party provides to the Board, before the designation of a representative, clear and convincing evidence that the dues deduction authorizations, and other evidence upon which the Board would otherwise rely to ascertain the employees' choice of representative, are fraudulent or were obtained through coercion, the Board shall promptly thereafter conduct an election. The Board shall also investigate and consider a party's allegations that the dues deduction authorizations and other evidence submitted in support of a designation of representative without an election were subsequently changed, altered, withdrawn, or withheld as result of employer fraud, coercion, or any other unfair labor practice by the employer. If the Board determines that a labor organization would have had a majority interest but for an employer's fraud, coercion, or unfair labor practice, it shall designate the labor organization as an exclusive representative without conducting an election." (Emphasis added.) 5 ILCS 315/9(a-5) (West 2004).

A union seeking to be certified under section 9(a-5) must file with the Board a "majority interest petition," i.e., a representation petition "accompanied by a showing of interest evidencing that a majority of the employees in the petitioned-for bargaining unit wish to be represented by the labor organization." 80 Ill. Adm.Code § 1210.80(b) (as amended at 28 Ill. Reg. 4172, eff. February 19, 2004). Under the Board's rules, the showing of interest in support of such a petition "may consist of authorization cards, petitions, or any other evidence that demonstrates that a majority of the employees wish to be represented by the union for the purposes of collective bargaining." (Emphasis added.) 80 Ill. Adm.Code § 1210.80(d)(2)(A) (as amended at 28 Ill. Reg. 4172, eff. February 19, 2004). The evidence of majority support must contain original, legible, signatures, which do not predate the filing of the petition by more than six months. 80 Ill. Adm.Code §§ 1210.80(d)(2)(B), (d)(2)(C), (d)(2)(D) (as amended at 28 Ill. Reg. 4172, eff. February 19, 2004). In addition, the showing of interest "shall state that by signing the card the employee acknowledges that if a majority of his/her

900 N.E.2d 1099

coworkers in an appropriate unit sign evidence of majority support, the card can be used by the petitioner to obtain certification as the employees' exclusive representative without an election." 80 Ill. Adm.Code § 1210.80(d)(2)(E) (as amended at 28 Ill. Reg. 4172, eff. February 19, 2004). Evidence of majority support is not furnished to any of the parties. 80 Ill. Adm.Code § 1210.80(e)(1) (as amended at 28 Ill. Reg. 4172, eff. February 19, 2004).

The employer is required to submit signature exemplars for the employees in the proposed bargaining unit and is permitted an opportunity to respond to the petition. 80 Ill. Adm.Code §§ 1210.100(b)(2), (b)(3) (as amended at 28 Ill. Reg. 4172, eff. February 19, 2004). In addition to providing "clear and convincing evidence of any alleged fraud or coercion in obtaining majority support," the employer must set forth its "position with respect to the matters asserted in the petition, including, but not limited to, the appropriateness of the bargaining unit and, to the extent known, whether any employees sought by petitioner to be included should be excluded from the unit." 80 Ill. Adm.Code § 1210.100(b)(3) (as amended at 28 Ill. Reg. 4172, eff. February 19, 2004). "Any person aggrieved" by an order of the Board certifying a labor organization "may apply for and obtain judicial review in accordance with provisions of the Administrative Review Law * * * directly in the Appellate Court for the district in which the aggrieved party resides or transacts business." 5 ILCS 315/9(i) (West 2004).

The present legal dispute arose out of a majority interest petition filed by MAP on June 15, 2005, in case number S-RC-05-153, in which MAP sought to be certified as the exclusive representative for a unit of Du Page County deputy sheriffs. The Employer objected to the petition on several grounds. One of its objections, relevant here, stemmed from the difference between the statutory language and the Board's rules. As set forth above, section 9(a-5) of the Act requires the Board to ascertain the employees' choice of representative "on the basis of dues deduction authorization and other evidence," whereas the Board's rules require "authorization cards, petitions, or any other evidence" demonstrating a majority interest. (Emphases added.) Compare 5 ILCS 315/9(a-5) (West 2004) with 80 Ill. Adm.Code § 1210.80(d)(2)(A) (as amended at 28 Ill. Reg. 4172, eff. February 19, 2004). The Employer argued that section 9(a-5) required the Union to submit both dues deduction authorization evidence and some other evidence of majority support, and that the Board's rules to the contrary were invalid. The Employer also argued that it was entitled to copies of the Union's evidence and that the requested bargaining unit was inappropriate.

The Board rejected the Employer's arguments and, on March 23, 2006, certified MAP as the exclusive bargaining representative for the requested employee unit. The Board's tally indicated that 189 employees were in the unit; 111 valid cards were signed in support of MAP; no cards were found, or even alleged, to have been obtained through the use of fraud or coercion; and 14 cards were found invalid for other reasons (e.g., the employee was not included in the unit, or the card was not signed or dated).

The Employer sought administrative review of the Board's decision, arguing that the word "and," as used in the statutory phrase "dues deduction authorization and other evidence" (5 ILCS 315/9(a-5) (West 2004)), should be read in its conjunctive sense, and that the Board's rules contradict the statute and are therefore invalid. The Employer also argued that the Board likely applied the invalid regulations and

900 N.E.2d 1100

did not require the Union to supply both dues deduction authorization and other evidence in support of its petition. The Employer also renewed its challenge to the makeup of the bargaining unit.

The Board and the Union disagreed with the Employer's construction of section 9(a-5) and argued that the word "and," when construed in light of the entire section, should be read in its several, disjunctive sense. The Board and the Union also argued that the underlying evidence supporting a majority interest petition is confidential and that the employer does not have a right to review it. Finally, the Board and the Union maintained that the bargaining unit is appropriate.

While the...

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99 practice notes
  • Italia Foods Inc v. As The Representative Of A Class Of Similarly Situated Persons, No. 2-08-1148.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 27 Abril 2010
    ...courts may consider extrinsic aids to construction, such as legislative history. County of Du Page v. Illinois Labor Relations Board, 231 Ill.2d 593, 604, 326 Ill.Dec. 848, 900 N.E.2d 1095 (2008). Questions of statutory interpretation are subject to de novo review. Harrisonville Telephone C......
  • Keating v. 68th and Paxton, L.L.C., No. 1-09-1759.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 27 Abril 2010
    ...intended for section 4(d) to be read as a whole. See344 Ill.Dec. 303, 936 N.E.2d 1060County of Du Page v. Illinois Labor Relations Board, 231 Ill.2d 593, 604, 326 Ill.Dec. 848, 900 N.E.2d 1095 (2008) (noting that words and phrases of a statute should not be construed in isolation). When we ......
  • Doe ex rel. Doe v. White, Case No. 08-1287.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Central District of Illinois
    • 30 Marzo 2009
    ...the section to define when the limitations period begins to run and when it tolls. See County of Du Page v. Illinois Labor Relations Bd., 231 Ill.2d 593, 604, 326 Ill.Dec. 848, 900 N.E.2d 1095 (Ill.2008)("Words and phrases should not be considered in isolation; rather, they must be interpre......
  • Maddux v. Blagojevich, No. 107416.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 18 Junio 2009
    ...from construing it one way or the other, a critical consideration for this case. County of Du Page v. Illinois Labor Relations Board, 231 Ill.2d 593, 604, 326 Ill.Dec. 848, 900 N.E.2d 1095 (2008). The Act states that a judge is "automatically retired" at the expiration of the term in which ......
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  • Janus v. Am. Fed'n of State, Cnty., & Mun. Emps., Council 31, No. 16–1466.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 27 Junio 2018
    ...to win majority approval. Ill. Comp. Stat., ch. 5, § 315/9(a) (2016) ; see, e.g., County of Du Page v. Illinois Labor Relations Bd., 231 Ill.2d 593, 597–600, 326 Ill.Dec. 848, 900 N.E.2d 1095, 1098–1099 (2008). And unions eagerly seek this support. See, e.g., Brief for Employees of the Stat......
  • Italia Foods Inc v. As The Representative Of A Class Of Similarly Situated Persons, No. 2-08-1148.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 27 Abril 2010
    ...courts may consider extrinsic aids to construction, such as legislative history. County of Du Page v. Illinois Labor Relations Board, 231 Ill.2d 593, 604, 326 Ill.Dec. 848, 900 N.E.2d 1095 (2008). Questions of statutory interpretation are subject to de novo review. Harrisonville Telephone C......
  • Keating v. 68th and Paxton, L.L.C., No. 1-09-1759.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 27 Abril 2010
    ...intended for section 4(d) to be read as a whole. See344 Ill.Dec. 303, 936 N.E.2d 1060County of Du Page v. Illinois Labor Relations Board, 231 Ill.2d 593, 604, 326 Ill.Dec. 848, 900 N.E.2d 1095 (2008) (noting that words and phrases of a statute should not be construed in isolation). When we ......
  • Doe ex rel. Doe v. White, Case No. 08-1287.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Central District of Illinois
    • 30 Marzo 2009
    ...the section to define when the limitations period begins to run and when it tolls. See County of Du Page v. Illinois Labor Relations Bd., 231 Ill.2d 593, 604, 326 Ill.Dec. 848, 900 N.E.2d 1095 (Ill.2008)("Words and phrases should not be considered in isolation; rather, they must be interpre......
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