Victory On Petition Before Labor Board Dooms Union’s Appeal Of Board’s Rationale

A police labor union wanted to be the exclusive representative of “all aviation security sergeants employed by the City of Chicago.” Chicago objected, so the union filed a petition in the Illinois Labor Relations Board. The Board granted the union’s petition. But the union was not completely satisfied because the Board ruled that the sergeants were not “peace officers,” a legal designation under the Illinois Labor Relations Act that affects the sergeants’ bargaining status.

Both Chicago and the union appealed ― Chicago to get the “exclusive representation” ruling reversed; the union to get the sergeants-are-not-peace-officers ruling reversed.

The First District Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the “exclusive representation” ruling, but dismissed the union’s “peace officer” appeal. The appellate court ruled that the union could not appeal because it won the right to be the exclusive representative, which is what it asked for in its petition. The union’s disagreement with some of the Board’s peripheral rulings was not a basis to appeal. Here is how the appellate court explained it:

Only “any person aggrieved” by a final order of the Board may petition for review of a Board decision … A party who has obtained all that has been asked for in the underlying proceeding has no standing to appeal … Although ICOP [union] may not agree with the Board’s “peace officer” finding, ICOP did receive the relief it requested from the Bard: certification of a stand-alone bargaining unit for the sergeants. We have affirmed this decision. Accordingly, ICOP’s “win” before the Board stands. Because ICOP received the relief it requested, its appeal must be dismissed … We note that, although we may generally affirm on any basis in the record, a defendant need not file a cross-appeal to urge an alternative reason for affirming … And, because we do affirm the Board, we need not review the alternate basis for relief ICOP resented to the Board.

The lesson is: If the issue is important enough to appeal, make sure to include it in your request for relief in the lower court or agency. Read the whole opinion, Illinois Council of Police v. Illinois Labor Relations Board, Nos. 1-09-1859, 1860 (9/30/10), by clicking here.