CHICAGO — A state appellate court has vacated an Illinois labor board's decision to dismiss a petition by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to represent several workers in the Cook County Sheriff's electronic monitoring unit, saying the labor board erred in allowing its executive director to yank certification without due process.

On May 26, a three-justice panel of the Illinois First District Appellate Court reversed an Illinois Labor Relations Board ruling that affirmed its executive director’s decision to revoke AFSCME certification and reopen proceedings on the petition to represent those employees. The court found that the executive director lacked the authority to dismiss AFSCME’s unit clarification petition concerning representation.  

Justice Mary K. Rochford wrote the opinion, and justices Thomas E. Hoffman and Mathias W. Delort concurred in the judgment and opinion.

AFSCME had previously represented Cook County Department of Corrections sergeants in a bargaining unit. On Sept. 24, 2014, AFSCME filed a unit clarification petition seeking to include in the bargaining unit eight employees who had been assigned to the electronic monitoring (EM) unit at the county jail. On Nov. 6, 2014, the executive director of the labor board issued a unit clarification certification order, including electronic monitoring sergeants in the bargaining unit represented by AFSCME.

The parties had 10 days to appeal the executive director’s order to the board. After the 10 days had passed and no appeal was filed, the Metropolitan Alliance of Police (MAP) informed the board that it had already represented the EM sergeants in a bargaining unit. This resulted in the executive director revoking AFSCME’s certification without notifying the labor union or reopening proceedings on the matter, according to court documents.

AFSCME appealed the decision to the labor board, arguing that the executive director did not have the authority to revoke the certification after the time for an appeal had passed, and the executive director did not afford AFSCME due process when issuing the revocation order.

On March 9, 2016, the labor board affirmed the executive director’s revocation order, finding that the executive director had the authority to revoke its earlier certification of AFSCME and reopen proceedings on AFSCME’s unit clarification petition, according to court documents.

On June 29, 2016, the labor board dismissed the unit clarification petition filed by AFSCME, finding it was untimely and it failed to satisfy criteria established by the board’s rules for filing of such a petition.

This triggered AFSCME's appeal to the appellate court.

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AFSCME Council 31 Illinois First District Appellate Court

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