We have received information from several of our library clients that a certain state-wide labor union has been actively soliciting their employees and trying to convince them to unionize. It appears that this union is making a determined effort to specifically target library employees for their organizational efforts. Employees in the State of Illinois have a right to unionize, if they choose to do so. There are rules for employers when they find out that the employees are undertaking unionization efforts, and what an employer can say and do in response to these efforts is limited. In addition, if you receive a petition from the Illinois Labor Relations Board indicating that the employees have requested that a union represent them, there are often tight time frames in which your response will be required and only certain available avenues to object or challenge the bargaining unit that is sought to be created. These representation petitions are normally granted, usually on the basis of what is known as a showing of majority interest, which means that the union will file evidence that shows at least 50% of the petitioned-for employees desire to have the union represent them. This evidence is often obtained before the employer even knows the union is around. Once the representation petition is granted, the union is certified by the Labor Board and the employer is required to engage in collective negotiations with the union, who is now the exclusive representative of the employees who are included in the bargaining unit. In some instances, depending on the size of the bargaining unit, the union will have a right to interest arbitration to resolve any issues that are not agreed on in negotiations.
KTJ lawyers have dealt with these petitions many times before, and have represented many clients before the Labor Board in responding to these petitions. We have also negotiated hundreds of collective bargaining agreements, and have a great deal of experience in both the representational phase and the subsequent negotiations. We encourage you to contact us right away if you hear of organizational efforts, or if you receive a petition.