First District: Public sector managers not entitled to collective bargaining

By The Madison County Record | May 28, 2015


CHICAGO – Mass cancellation of union membership that former Gov. Pat Quinn carried out to restore loyalty among agency managers must stand, First District appellate court judges ruled on May 19.

They held that legislators properly authorized Quinn to exclude 855 senior public service administrators from current or potential union eligibility.

“There is no constitutional right to public sector collective bargaining, and the statutory right was given only to nonmanagers,” Justice John Simon wrote.

He wrote that legislators guided Quinn in “removing from collective bargaining units those employees whose duties are incompatible with collective bargaining unit membership.”

Litigation over roughly 2,000 other managerial positions continues at the First District and the Fourth District in Springfield.

Quinn asked for authority to clear his ranks in 2011, but legislators didn’t grant it.

He asked again in 2013, and they granted it.

They gave him 365 days to designate job groups for exclusion, to a maximum of 3,580 positions.

They limited designations of workers already in bargaining units to 1,900.

In August 2013, Quinn designated 3,260 positions.

He designated some by title alone, as the law provided.

The titles confirm a startling degree of union presence in the highest ranks.

Quinn designated chiefs of staff, executive directors, human resource directors, deputy directors, chief fiscal officers, agency general counsels, senior public service administrators and public information officers.

He petitioned the Illinois Labor Relations Board to approve his designations, and the board approved.

On behalf of senior public service administrators, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees petitioned the board for review.

The union claimed the legislature delegated too much authority to Quinn, and that Quinn designated positions arbitrarily.

The union claimed it deserved a hearing, but the board denied it.

The union petitioned the First District for review, without success.

Simon wrote that legislators limited Quinn to expressly stated positions, and that they subjected him to review by the labor board.

He wrote that legislators “gave the Governor detailed guidelines to carry out the implementation of the statute so as to effectuate an important state interest.”

He wrote that they barely delegated any authority he didn’t already possess.

“The legislative framework has long been that managers were not permitted to collectively bargain, but the legislature found that many managers had become members of collective bargaining units anyhow,” Simon wrote.

“If the individuals were, in fact, managerial employees, then they had no right to collectively bargain in the first place, so removing them from collective bargaining units would not violate their constitutional rights because they had neither a fundamental right nor any property right at stake.

“It was reasonable for the legislature to make a determination that the Governor’s participation was warranted to remove certain high level managers from collective bargaining units so that he could effectively run his executive department as he sees fit.”

He wrote that legislators in their debates recognized that collective bargaining unit membership among managers was an increasingly serious issue.

“The General Assembly could have concluded that this statute was a rational way to stem the problem and reverse the upward trend,” he wrote.

He wrote that the union showed no threat to a constitutional right.

“The plain language of the statute requires that the ILRB simply look at the employees’ job titles, which it did properly, and nothing in the statute entitled the individuals to an evidentiary hearing.”

Justices Scott Neville and Daniel Pierce concurred.

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