Public employees who took early retirement while a CBA was being negotiated cannot claim their right to due process was violated.
“The plaintiffs cite Spreen v. Brey, 961 F.2d 109 (7th Cir. 1992) to support their due process claim. In that case, we held that the plaintiff would be entitled to certain procedural due process rights if the city made material misrepresentations to induce her to resign. Id. at 112. Spreen doesn’t help the plaintiffs because unlike in that case, the plaintiffs haven’t brought forth any evidence that the City made misrepresentations to induce them to retire early. The City held meetings to explain the ERIP, which the plaintiffs attended. The plaintiffs voluntarily took part in the ERIP with full knowledge that negotiations for the 2003-2007 CBAs were underway and accordingly, no agreement as to retroactive wage increases had been reached. If any duty was owed to the plaintiffs to inform them about the status of these negotiations, it was owed by their union. See 5 Ill. Comp. Stat. 315/6(c) (stating that the union ‘is the exclusive representative for the employees . . . with respect to rates of pay, wages, hours and other conditions of employment.’). As stated above, the City was open about its intentions not to pay raises without cost-saving concessions. Even though the plaintiffs had to choose whether to accept early retirement when raises were uncertain, such a choice doesn’t establish coerced resignation. See Palka v. Shelton, 623 F.3d 447 (7th Cir. 2010) (finding no coerced resignation even though plaintiff was forced to Nos. 10-2114, 10-2243, 10-2814, & 10-2921 23 choose between resigning to protect his retirement benefits or clearing himself before the Merit Board), cert. denied, 131 S. Ct. 1680 (2011). Because their retirement was voluntary, the plaintiffs were not deprived of a protected property interest by state action.”
Reversed and Remanded.
10-2114, 10-2243, 10-2814 & 10-2921 Marcatante v. City of Chicago
Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Kocoras, J., Tinder, J.