Winfield Employees Lose Bid for Collective Bargaining Unit

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Byline: Don Thompson Daily Herald State Government Writer

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a unionization effort by Winfield village employees in a case watched closely by other small municipalities.

Winfield police and records clerks tried to form a union in 1993, but the village objected that it had only 22 total employees, not the 35 employees needed to fall under the Illinois State Labor Relations Board's jurisdiction.

An appellate court ruled in the employees' favor by counting nine Winfield Public Library employees and six summer employees in the total. But the state's high court rejected that reasoning, ruling that the library board makes virtually all its decisions, including personnel decisions, independent of the village board.

"This is an important issue not just for Winfield but for all communities around the state that have a library within their jurisdiction," said Winfield Village President Marylou Crane. "It really sets a good precedent."

Had the decision gone the other way, "it was going to draw the smaller communities into the collective bargaining process. …