ICOPs prevails before NLRB to unionize University of Chicago Police Sergeants

ICOPs attorney Julie Trevarthen-Escarcida presented the case on behalf of the Union

ICOPs Attorney Julie Trevarthen-Escarcida

The Illinois Council of Police has prevailed in their effort to organize the Sergeants of the University of Chicago Police Department. The case was decided at a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board on June 16th and 17th, 2022.

ICOPs attorney Julie Trevarthen-Escarcida used her years of trial experience to prepare for a challenging hearing. While the burden in such cases is on the employer to prove supervisory status, this case was unique. Attorney Trevarthen-Escarcida faced the unusual hurdle of overcoming a 2009 NLRB decision that held the U of C Sergeants were supervisors under the National Labor Relation Act and not eligible to organize.

Over the two day hearing, ICOPs presented witnesses who testified about the changing organizational structure of the department and responsibilities of the Sergeants since the 2009 ruling. The Univiserity presented a mountain of documentary evidence to prove alleged supervisory responsibilities of the Sergeants.

Ultimately, after the Attorney Trevarthen-Escarcida filed an extensive post-hearing brief, the NLRB was persuaded by the facts, legal authority, and the Union’s witnesses who testified about their job duties and their lack of supervisory authority. The decision stated in part, “I accord more weight to witness testimony where the record establishes direct knowledge of the facts at the time the instant petition was filed.” 

The Employer’s reliance on the sergeant job description and other policies and procedures, such as General Orders, and witness testimony that the job description and General Orders accurately describe the supervisory authority, duties, responsibilities, and expectations of sergeants is insufficient.

As a result of this decision and order, an election will be held where the Sergeants of the University of Chicago Police Department will be able, for the first time, to have union representation. The Illinois Council of Police is honored to have been selected by the Sergeants as their representatives and looks forward to a productive relationship with the Sergeants and the University.