Frequently Asked Questions 

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General Questions

Q: How do I file an unfair labor practice charge, fair share fee objection or representation petition with the IELRB?

A: The appropriate forms may be obtained by calling one of the Board’s offices, or they may be downloaded from the link provided on this website. You may file your charge, petition or objection in person at either of the Board’s offices, by mail or by telefax. Please refer to the Board’s Rules for further information about filing and service of documents.

Q: How can I obtain information and/or assistance from an IELRB staff member?

A: Information and assistance may be obtained by calling either of the Board’s offices (Chicago, 312/793-3170 or Springfield, 217/782-9068) to speak with the public information officer. The public information officer can provide information and assistance regarding the Act and Rules, relevant case law and case status information. Some information may require a written request pursuant to the the Freedom of Information Act. Please refer to the Agency’s rules for specific information on such requests.

Q: Where can I obtain copies of Executive Director, Administrative Law Judge and Board (IELRB) decisions?

A: Recent Agency decisions may be downloaded and printed by clicking the link on the left-hand side of this page. Decisions are also printed in the Public Employee Reporter for Illinois, which is available on Westlaw and in most law libraries, or copies may be obtained from the IELRB at a cost of 15 cents per page.

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Unfair Labor Practice Issues

Q: What is the time limit for filing an unfair labor practice charge?

A: Generally, a charge must be filed within six months of the date the alleged violation occurred or when the charging party became aware of the violation.

Q: What happens after a charge is filed with the IELRB?

A: The charge is assigned to a Board Agent for investigation. The Board Agents speaks with the parties involved and reviews any written documentation provided. When necessary, the Board Agent may ask for additional documentation or witness statements. If the investigation reveals an issue of law or fact, the Executive Director will issue a Complaint and Notice of Hearing, setting the matter for hearing before an administrative law judge of the Agency. If the investigation reveals no issues of law or fact sufficient to warrant a hearing, the Executive Director will dismiss the unfair labor practice charge.

Q: If my charge is dismissed, can I appeal that decision?

A: Yes, Executive Director’s dismissals may be appealed to the Board. Please refer to the IELRB’s rules for information and instructions on filing an appeal.

Q: What happens during the hearing process?

A: Within 15 days of the issuance of a Complaint, the respondent is required to file a written answer to the Complaint. A staff member will also contact the parties to discuss the possibility of reaching a settlement. One week before the date of the hearing, the parties will file a prehearing memorandum setting forth the uncontested material facts, a list of exhibits to be introduced and a list of witnesses who will be called. During the hearing, each party will have the opportunity to present relevant evidence, question witnesses and file written post-hearing briefs. After reviewing the record and legal precedent, the administrative law judge then issues a written decision to the parties, which may be appealed to the Board. Please refer to the Agency’s rules for further information and instruction.

Q: What happens during the appeals process?

A: When a case is appealed to the Board, it is assigned to one of the Board’s staff attorneys. The staff attorney reviews the record, including the written exceptions to the administrative law judge’s decision and any responses. The staff attorney makes an oral presentation to the Board members during their meeting, including a recommendation of the disposition. Subsequently, the Board members review and vote upon a written Opinion and Order, which is issued to the parties. Appeals of decisions of the IELRB are taken directly to the Appellate Court in either Springfield or Chicago under Rule 335 of the Illinois Supreme Court rules.

Q:What remedies are available when it has been determined that an unfair labor practice occurred?

A: To remedy unfair labor practices, the administrative law judge or the IELRB attempts to restore the status quo ante; that is, to return the parties to the point they were at before the unfair labor practice occurred. Depending on the nature of the violation, some remedies could require the employer to post a notice containing an acknowledgement of the violation and a pledge to refrain from similar action in the future; rescind certain work rules or policies; reinstate employees who were wrongfully discharged, with or without backpay; and engage in good faith bargaining.

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Representation Issues

Q: Who may file a representation petition with the IELRB?

A: Petitions may be filed by an employee, a group of employees or a labor organization acting on employees’ behalf, and must provide evidence that 30 percent or more of the employees in the bargaining unit wish to be represented for collective bargaining, or no longer wish to be represented by the labor organization currently acting as the exclusive bargaining representative. A representation petition may also be filed by an employer alleging that one or more labor organizations have presented a claim to be recognized as the exclusive bargaining representative of employees in the unit and that it doubts the majority status of any of the organizations, or alleging that it doubts the majority status of the current exclusive bargaining representative. A petition for clarification of an existing bargaining unit may be filed by either the employer or the exclusive bargaining representative.

Q: What is a “showing of interest?”

A: A showing of interest in support of a representation petition seeking an election can include authorization cards, a petition or other evidence which demonstrates that at least 30 percent of the proposed bargaining unit wish to be represented for collective bargaining by the employee organization named in the petition. In support of a decertification petition, the showing of interest must clearly state that at least 30 percent of the current bargaining unit does not want the incumbent employee organization to continue serving as their bargaining representative. In the case of majority interest petitions, the showing of interest shall consist of current dues cards, petitions or other evidence demonstrating that more than 50 percent of the proposed bargaining unit wish to be represented for collective bargaining by the petitioned-for employee organization. Please refer to Section 1100.Appendix A of the IELRB’s Rules for a sample authorization card. Authorization cards and petitions must be signed and dated by the employee, and are effective for six months from the date signed.

Q: What is a “majority interest petition?”

A: The IELRA was changed, effective January 1, 2004, to provide that an educational employer shall voluntarily recognize a labor organization for purposes of collective bargaining if the organization appears to represent a majority of employees in the unit. The Act provides for the posting of a notice to the employees explaining their rights in connection with this procedure, as well as the holding of an election if another labor organization intervenes in the proceedings with a minimum 15 percent showing of interest. The procedure for the processing of majority interest petitions is set forth in Section 1110.105 of the IELRB’s rules.

Q: How does the IELRB conduct elections?

A: Elections are held by agreement of the parties or by order of the IELRB. An IELRB Board Agent supervises the secret ballot election at a time and place conducive to allowing all employees to vote. If possible, immediately at the end of the election, the Board Agent will count the ballots, and the choice receiving a majority of the votes cast is declared the winner. The parties have five days following the election to file objections. If objections are filed, the Executive Director investigates those objections to determine whether they have merit. The IELRB’s rules governing the conduct of elections are found in Section 1110.140 of the Board’s Rules.

Q: Who may vote in an election held under the IELRA?

A: In order to be eligible to vote, an employee must have been in the bargaining unit during the payroll period immediately prior to the date of the direction of election or approval of consent agreement, and must still be in the bargaining unit on the date of the election. IELRB rules provide that the employer must furnish a list of eligible employees to the IELRB and the other parties before the election is held.

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Fair Share

Q: What is fair share?

A: A collective bargaining agreement entered into with an exclusive representative may include a provision requiring employees covered by the agreement who are not members of the organization to pay a fair share fee to the organization for services. The exclusive representative shall certify the amount of the fair share fee, which shall not exceed the amount of regular dues. The fair share amount shall be deducted from the non-member employee’s earnings and paid to the exclusive representative. The fair share fee shall not include any fees for contributions to candidates for public office.

Q: What if my religious beliefs preclude me from any association with the organization?

A: Fair share provisions must safeguard the non-member employees’ right to not associate and thereby not contribute to certain groups based on their bona fide religious tenets or teachings of a church or religious body of which the employee is a member. However, these employees may be required to pay an amount equal to the fair share fee to a nonreligious charitable organization mutually agreed upon by the employee and the exclusive representative. If the employee and exclusive representative are unable to agree on a charity, the IELRB has established an approved list of charitable organization.

Q: What happens to the money deducted from earnings while the fair share fee objection is being processed?

A: The employer shall continue to deduct the fair share fee from the employees’ earnings, but the money is held in an interest-bearing escrow account by either the IELRB or the exclusive representative.

Q: How are fair share fee objections processed by the IELRB?

A: The Board consolidates for hearing all fair share fees involving an exclusive representative affiliated with a common employee organization. If a hearing is held, the hearing commences within 60 days of the last day for filing objections. Subsequent to the close of the hearing, an administrative law judge issues a written decision, a summary of which is sent to all objectors. The IELRB’s rules governing fair share objections hearing and appeal procedures may be found at Section 1125.80.

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Mediation

Q: What type of mediation services does the IELRB provide?

A: Mediation may be invoked by either party, or both, or automatically by the IELRB. When mediation is invoked, the Board shall provide the parties with a panel of three mediators selected from the list maintained by the IELRB. Within three days of receiving the list, the parties shall select a mediator and notify the Board of their selection. If the parties fail to agree on a mediator, the Board shall appoint one.

Q: How are mediators qualified by the IELRB?

A: Persons interested in inclusion on the IELRB’s mediation roster are required to complete an application form and provide several references. The Board will review those applications and approve the candidates when appropriate. If you are interested in applying to the IELRB’s mediation roster, please contact Renee Strickland in the Board’s Chicago office for further information and application forms.

Q: Does the IELRB use mediation to resolve unfair labor practice issues?

A: The IELRB staff has received broad mediation training, and, whenever possible, a mediation conference is held before a case proceeds to hearing. Informal resolution of disputes is encouraged during all phases of the investigation and hearing process, and IELRB staff work closely with the parties to exhaust every possibility of settlement.

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