Ann Maher May 9, 2013, 9:34am

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is suing Madison County and State’s Attorney’s Thomas Gibbons over the County’s alleged failure to abide by an arbitrator’s award reinstating a former secretary to service.

Chicago attorney Melissa J. Auerbach of Cornfield and Feldman, a firm that appears to exclusively represent labor unions, filed the complaint May 6 on behalf of former secretary Andrew Kane.

The complaint states that Kane was discharged on May 2, 2012 from the position of “Secretary II” in the Felony Division. The position pays approximately $35,000 annually.

Kane, 26, declined to comment on the reasons for his termination.  He said he is concerned that taxpayers will be responsible for court costs and attorney’s fees incurred by AFSCME in order to have the award enforced.

He also said he is disturbed that the State’s Attorney office has chosen to ignore a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

“The complete disregard of the collective bargaining agreement should be of great concern to all employees of Madison County bound by such agreement,” Kane said in an email message.

He said he started working in the office as a clerk typist in August 2010, and that he also had interned in the office while in college.

After he was terminated last May, Kane filed a grievance in accordance with terms of the CBA, the suit states. The discharge grievance, which was later referred to an arbitrator when it could not be fully resolved, claimed that Kane’s discharge was without just cause under provisions of the CBA.

On Jan. 22, an arbitrator sustained Kane’s grievance. Kane’s discipline was to be reduced to a suspension for time served and he was to be restored to service, but without compensation for lost time.

“The State's Attorney had 90 days to appeal or modify the arbitration award and that 90 days has passed with no complaint filed on behalf of Madison County,” Kane said.

The suit asks the Court to enforce the arbitration award by reinstating Kane, pay back pay and benefits with interest from Jan. 22 until the date of his reinstatement and pay the costs and fees associated with bringing the action.

A spokesperson for the State's Attorney's office said Gibbons would be commenting on the matter after reviewing the filing.

Madison County case number 13-MR-135

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