Local

Algonquin Township Highway Department appeals court battle loss to labor union

Gasser due in court Dec. 11 to address contempt charge

Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser supervises his crew May 17 as they repave Deerpath Road in Algonquin.
Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser supervises his crew May 17 as they repave Deerpath Road in Algonquin.

Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser lost his battle in court fighting the labor union that represents his employees, but he now is angling to win on an appeal.

On Nov. 21, Gasser’s $400-an-hour Woodstock attorney, Robert Hanlon, filed a notice that the highway commissioner would appeal to Illinois’ 2nd District Appellate Court, further drawing out an expensive legal fight that has drained the road district and taxpayers of more than $400,000.

Gasser and his attorney could not be reached for comment.

In August, Lake County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Jasica dismissed Gasser’s lawsuit seeking to invalidate a union contract his predecessor signed. Two times before that dismissal, the judge gave Gasser a chance to refile his complaint with new arguments challenging the collective bargaining agreement.

The legal counsel for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 got the court to compel arbitration to address Gasser’s termination of union employees and several grievances alleging contract violations. Counsel representing Local 150 reached out to the highway department to begin that arbitration process, but it received no response.

Gasser has been ordered to appear at a Dec. 11 court hearing to defend himself against a charge that he should be held in contempt for failing to sort out grievances related to the firings and wages of several union workers he dismissed after taking office.

The road district’s battle with Local 150 sparked a protest Nov. 14 on township property that included 10 “Scabby the Rat” inflatables and picket signs lambasting Gasser’s spending on legal fees.

Protesters’ signs featured a cartoon of Gasser in a spacesuit with a nickname, “Gasser the Rat.” A truck bed billboard parked across Route 14 read, “Shame on Andrew Gasser.” Another popular picket sign said, “Stop wasting taxpayer dollars.”

Since Gasser took office in May 2017, he has spent more than $400,000 on lawyers.

A briefing schedule has not yet been set for the appeals process in the 2nd District Appellate Court.

Loading more

Digital Access

Digital Access
Access nwherald.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, weekend and Sunday packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! Get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Plan your weekend and catch up on the news with our newsletters.