MOUNT VERNON – St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien must review his order extending the union contract of 38,000 state employees in light of a state agency’s opposite decision, Fifth District appellate judges ruled on Dec. 16.
They held that circumstances changed on Dec. 13, when the Illinois Labor Relations Board declared an impasse in negotiations for a new contract.
The old contract expired last year, but Rauner and the union agreed to honor it until they signed a new contract or reached an impasse.
The board informally declared an impasse in November, but failure to follow formalities gave the union a chance to contest the decision.
On Nov. 30, in St. Clair County, the union moved to amend a complaint it filed in April but never pursued.
LeChien held a hearing without public notice on Dec. 2, and orally granted a temporary restraining order against Gov. Bruce Rauner.
He ordered Rauner to rescind any changes he made to a contract that former Gov. Pat Quinn and state employees executed in 2012.
On Dec. 5, LeChien wrote that union members continue to suffer irreparable injury contrary to their rights without notice or agreement.
Rauner appealed on Dec. 7, and the union answered on Dec. 12.
The labor board simplified matters for the Fifth District on Dec. 13, declaring an impasse at a regular public meeting.
“Because the circumstances as they existed at the time that the circuit court issued its temporary restraining order have changed, we remand this matter to the trial court to make a determination as to whether to dissolve its temporary restraining order,” Justice Thomas Welch wrote.
LeChien has set a hearing on permanent relief on Jan. 13.