Minimum Staffing For Police Not Negotiable In Illinois

Section 9.6 of the collective bargaining agreement between the Village of Maywood and the Illinois Council of Police provide that “the Village agrees it shall maintain a force of full-time sworn police officers large enough to cover the three daily combined shifts with a minimum of five full-time sworn uniformed police officers. Sergeants shall count towards manning when assigned to street duties.” The agreement itself expired on April 30, 2017.

During negotiations for a new contract, the Village responded to the Council’s initial proposal by proposing to remove Section 9.6 of the agreement, asserting that “minimum manning” was a permissive (i.e., non-mandatory) subject of bargaining and refusing to include the provision in the successor agreement. The Village then filed a petition for declaratory relief with the Illinois State Labor Board, arguing that the non-mandatory nature of the staffing provision made it illegal for an interest arbitrator to include it in the successor agreement.

The General Counsel for the Labor Board agreed with the Village. The General Counsel pointed to a provision in the Illinois bargaining statute that in the case of peace officers, an arbitrator’s decision shall be limited to wages, hours, and conditions of employment, but may not include the following: 1) Residency requirements in municipalities with a population of at least 1,000,000; 2) the type of equipment, other than uniforms, issued or used; 3) manning; 4) the total number of employees employed by the department; 5) mutual aid and assistance agreements to other units of government; and 6) the criterion pursuant to which force, including deadly force, can be used. The bargaining law also contains an exception that “nothing herein shall preclude an arbitration decision regarding equipment or manning levels if such decision is based on a finding that the equipment or manning considerations in a specific work assignment involve a serious risk to the safety of a peace officer beyond that which is inherent in the normal performance of police duties.”

The General Counsel found that “the Village’s position has merit. The bargaining law unequivocally prohibits an interest arbitrator from issuing a decision including minimum manning for peace officers. While the law also provides an exception for safety concerns relating to manning, but as the Village asserts, nothing in the language of Section 9.6 involves such safety concerns, and there is no indication that any safety concerns have been raised here. Furthermore, the inclusion of Section 9.6 in the parties’ expired contract fails to render the subject of minimum manning mandatory. Previously bargaining over a subject does not convert a permissive subject of bargaining into mandatory subject of bargaining.”

Village of Maywood, 34 PERI ¶ 77 (Ill. LRB Gen. Counsel 2017).