Friday, September 7, 2012

Labor Arbitration in the Courts

Arbitrator did not exceed his authority in reinstating employee
Chevron Oronite sought to set aside an arbitrator’s award converting a termination to a suspension and reinstating the grievant. Grievant had been dismissed for a claimed safety violation. Although finding the rule allegedly violated a reasonable one, and finding proper notice and investigation of the incident, the arbitrator concluded “[Grievant] put himself and others in serious jeopardy. It was either luck or Providence that no one was killed or injured. The Company came down hard on [Grievant]. But, too hard it seems to me. A month off without pay with stipulations once he returned would be more reasonable.” The Company claimed the arbitrator’s award did not draw its essence from the cba.
The District Court rejected this argument, concluding that the contract language addressing safety and health and the employer’s right to establish and enforce safety rules provided a basis for the arbitrator’s award. The court noted that “Although the CBA sets forth the ‘Arbitration Procedure’to be used when a grievance cannot be resolved … no provision of the CBA either defines ‘just cause’ or limits the arbitrator’s authority to review or modify the penalty imposed on an employee. The significance of the absence of such provisions cannot be overstated. Nothing in the CBA mandates termination for violation of a safety rule. … Therefore, the arbitrator’s remedy of a sanction less than discharge for a safety violation can reasonably be construed as drawing its essence from the CBA.” Chevron Oronite Company v. United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied-Industrial and Service Workers International Union, Local 13-447 (E.D. La.)
Union can arbitrate claim arising from evergreen clause
The contract between IATSE and In Sync Show Productions was effective for an initial term of five years (from January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2007) and “from year to year thereafter.” On October 2, 2007 IATSE notified In Sync it wished to modify or amend the contract, and In Sync responded that it wished to terminate the agreement. Negotiations were unsuccessful, and thereafter the Union sought to arbitrate its claim that the original agreement continued in effect pursuant to the evergreen provision and that In Sync had been in continuous breach by failing to adhere to that agreement.
In Sync maintained that the contract had expired and the court was therefore without jurisdiction to compel arbitration, while IATSE sought to rely on the evergreen provision and sought to have an arbitrator rule on the continued enforceability of the agreement and the claimed breach. In granting the Union’s motion to compel arbitration the court held “The Court does not determine that In Sync’s argument is necessarily wrong; the Court simply does not reach the merits of the argument. Rather, the Court decides that because In Sync’s argument requires interpretation of the 03-07 CBA and a determination of whether it was cancelled, the argument is better left for an arbitrator to decide…”IATSE v. In Sync Show Productions, Inc (D. Nevada)
Arbitrator orders effects bargaining for prison closure; Judge issues TRO
According to AFSCME Council 31, a judge has issued a temporary restraining order preventing the State of Illinois from closing certain state prisons. This decision follows an arbitrator’s ruling that the State had violated its cba by failing to properly bargain with the Union over the impact of the closings. The arbitrator ordered the parties to engage in negotiations for a period of 30 days. Judge issues TRO: No prison closures

No comments:

Post a Comment