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Thursday, August 22, 2019

FOP sues to preserve taxpayer funded union work; Says it promotes ‘harmonious labor-management relations’

By Record News | May 24, 2016

State troopers plead in St. Clair County court that the people must continue paying them for thousands of hours they devote to their union. 

Lodge Number 41 of the Fraternal Order of Police sued the state police department on May 5, to preserve compensation for what they call 518A time. 

Ryan Hagerty and Joel D’Alba of Chicago entered appearances for the troopers and moved for an injunction pending arbitration already in progress. 

They filed it on the miscellaneous remedy docket, where Circuit Judge Robert LeChien presides. 

LeChien will run for St. Clair County circuit judge as a Democrat this November, provided that a challenge to his candidacy is denied. 

The first page of the union’s motion identified Hagerty and D’Alba as counsel. 

The last page showed a signature of Lauren Cates, of Cates Mahoney in Swansea. 

David Cates of the same firm placed his name on the signature page too. 

His mother, presiding Judge Judy Cates of the Fifth District appellate court, won her job as a Democrat. 

In the pleading, the union’s lawyers wrote that the 518A code designates time for lodge meetings, grievance meetings, committee meetings and contract negotiations. 

They wrote that for July 1, 2014 to last June 30, the state agreed to issue 575 days worth of 518A time. 

At eight hours a day, that equals 4,600 hours. At 40 hours a week, that equals 115 weeks. At 52 weeks a year, that equals 2.2 years worth of union work in a year. 

The state has provided 518A time “or a functional equivalent” to Hispanic and Black law enforcement associations, the pleading states. 

It also states that the lodge has negotiated for this benefit since at least 1988. 

The union’s lawyers wrote that over the years, the lodge has made significant concessions to maintain this benefit. 

They wrote that a request for 518A time was pending for a June 30 meeting of the lodge board to discuss contract negotiations, and that this time has been used in quelling workplace disputes that would otherwise impact operations, morale and service. 

“The presence of a lodge representative, paid by the state, at various labor-management functions over the years has had the effect of promoting positive morale, encouraging harmonious labor-management relations, and preserving labor peace,” the union’s lawyers wrote. 

They wrote that the lodge has a strong interest in ensuring that it has manpower to adequately represent members, and that it has a legitimate interest in protecting member support that is threatened by the department’s flagrant conduct. 

“The cumulative effect of these events is to weaken the strength of the lodge and its members just when they need it the most, in the midst of contentious contract negotiations and impasse arbitration,” they wrote. 

LeChien ordered the department to respond by June 3.

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