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ADVANCE TRANSP. CO. v. INTERNATIONAL BHD. OF TEAMS

November 1, 1996

ADVANCE TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, LOCAL NO. 710, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: NORGLE

 CHARLES R. NORGLE, SR., District Judge:

 Plaintiff Advance Transportation Company ("Advance") filed this action against Defendant International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local No. 710 ("Local 710") seeking to vacate an arbitrator's determination that Advance violated a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") by the manner in which it terminated a certain unionized employee, Charles Coleman ("Coleman"). Before the court are the parties' cross motions for summary judgment. For the following reasons, Advance's motion is denied and Local 710's motion is granted.

 I. Applicable Legal Standards

 Summary judgment will be granted only where there are no remaining genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Amax Coal Co. v. United Mine Workers of Am. Int'l Union, 92 F.3d 571 (7th Cir. 1996). Judicial review of labor arbitration awards is limited, as arbitration is intended to produce final resolution of disputes. National Wrecking Co. v. International Bhd. of Teamsters, Local 731, 990 F.2d 957, 960 (7th Cir. 1990) ("Arbitrators do not act as junior varsity trial courts where subsequent appellate review is readily available to the losing party").

 Rather, when reviewing arbitration awards, courts will ask only whether the awards draw their essence from the relevant collective bargaining agreements in some rational manner. Jasper Cabinet Co. v. United Steelworkers of Am., AFL-CIO-CLC, Upholstery & Allied Divs., 77 F.3d 1025, 1028 (7th Cir. 1996). Federal district courts may not set aside arbitration awards for factual or legal errors, provided the awards contain honest decisions of the arbitrators, reached after full and fair hearings of the parties. National Wrecking, 990 F.2d at 960. Awards will be vacated only where there is no logical interpretive route between the collective bargaining agreements and the awards. Arch of Ill., Div. of Apogee Coal Corp. v. District 12, United Mine Workers of Am., 85 F.3d 1289, 1293-94 (7th Cir. 1996). Courts must resolve disputes in favor of enforcement where there exists any reasonable amount of doubt regarding whether the award contains such a logical connection. Jasper, 77 F.3d at 1028-29.

 II. Arbitration Award *fn1" .

 A. Facts

 Coleman worked as a commercial truck driver for Advance over approximately eighteen years. Coleman was a member of Local 710 and part of the unit of employees covered by the CBA between Advance and Local 710.

 The CBA incorporates certain drug and alcohol policies, including a provision for random drug and alcohol testing in accordance with federal regulations. Advance contracts with an outside firm to perform a computerized random selection of drivers for testing.

 On April 17, 1995, Coleman was randomly selected for testing. *fn2" At the beginning of his shift, around 9:00 a.m., Margaret Oesterreicher ("Oesterreicher"), the Office Manager's assistant, informed Coleman that he had been selected. Although the test site was five minutes from Advance, Coleman performed approximately eight hours of his normal work for the day before reporting to the clinic at 6:00 p.m. His test results were negative.

 Advance's Terminal Manager believed that Coleman should have proceeded to the clinic immediately after being informed of the selection. On April 19, 1995, after consulting the Regional General Manager, the Terminal Manager issued a letter to Coleman. The letter cited the CBA as well as Department of Transportation and Federal Highway regulations, and stated that Coleman violated those regulations. Therefore, continued the letter, Advance discharged Coleman.

 Coleman took issue with his discharge and filed a grievance on April 25, 1995. The Union advanced the matter to arbitration when grievance procedures did not result in settlement. The parties mutually selected Arbitrator Steven Briggs to conduct the arbitration hearing and issue a final and binding decision. The hearing was transcribed, and both parties presented closing oral arguments.

 The parties stipulated to the following statement of the arbitration issue: "Was the Grievant, Charles Coleman, terminated for just cause? If not, what is the appropriate remedy?"

 B. Relevant CBA Provisions

 The relevant CBA provisions cited by the Arbitrator include the provision adopting the drug testing program as well as the following:

 
ARTICLE 24. DISCHARGE
 
The Employer shall not discharge nor suspend any employee without just cause. With respect to discharge . . . the Employer shall give at least one warning notice of the complaint against such employee to the employee in writing and a copy of the same to the Local Union . . . except that no warning notice need be give to an employee before he is discharged if the cause of such discharge is dishonesty or drunkenness, which shall be verified by ...

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