October 9, 2013
What are the limits on a public sector union’s right to place union emblems on an employer’s property? That’s the interesting question recently posed to the Illinois Labor Relations Board, State Panel (LRB). The LRB rejected an unfair practice charge filed by an Illinois public employees’ union. In the charge, the union challenged the municipal employer’s directive requiring the removal of union banners hanging at a village fire station and requiring the removal of union decals from village fire trucks. The LRB found that the village’s order did not violate provisions of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act.
(Westlaw users: access more stories from the Public Employee Reporter for Illinois.)
In Hazel Crest Professional Firefighters Association, IAFF, Local 4087 v. Village of Hazel Crest, 30 PERI 72 (Ill. LRB, State Panel 2013), the LRB relied on a somewhat similar case from the National Labor Relations Board. That case declared that an employer may lawfully bar employees’ non-work related use of its e-mail system unless the employer’s actions equal discrimination against union activity.
Here, the LRB found, no evidence showed that the employer’s directive to the union resulted from a discriminatory motive. Instead, the employer’s order fell in line with the parties’ past practice, the LRB concluded. Therefore, no unfair practice was committed by the employer.