United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
May 13, 2004.
CENTRAL STATES, SOUTHEAST AND SOUTHWEST AREAS PENSION FUND, AND HOWARD MC DOUGALL, Trustee, And CENTRAL STATES, SOUTHEAST AND SOUTHWEST AREAS HEALTH AND WELFARE FUND, and HOWARD MC DOUGALL, Trustee, Plaintiffs,
TRANSPORT SERVICE CO., an Illinois corporation, Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES MORAN, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Defendant moves for summary judgment. That motion is denied. The thrust
of defendant's motion is that plaintiffs are seeking contributions for
employees who are not covered. The collective bargaining agreement, it
contends, establishes a bargaining unit of drivers employed at its
terminal facility at Decatur, Illinois, who are represented by Local
279. Since the drivers in contention are, it argues, employed at the
Assumption, Illinois terminal, and are not members of Local 279, it has
no obligation to pay pension and welfare contributions. Indeed, if more
than one or two of them were included, the union would not have majority
We think defendant's contentions rest upon a combination of concepts
that do not fit together. If a driver is truly an Assumption driver who
occasionally carries loads from Decatur, those loads may be permissible
under the contract's reciprocity provision as a foreign driver. Or
perhaps the requirements of that provision may not be met and the hauling
is a violation of the contract, remediable through the grievance process. But
that is not the issue.
As we previously ruled, Local 279 represents all the drivers in the
bargaining unit, whether or not they are union members. If the majority
of drivers in that bargaining unit do not want the union to represent
them, then that leads to decertification and the end of any employer
obligation to bargain with the union. But, in the meantime, there has
been a collective bargaining contract in place which, as we understand
it, requires contributions for covered drivers and obligates plaintiffs
to provide benefits for those drivers.
Clearly, Assumption drivers are not members of the Decatur bargaining
unit But who is a Decatur driver and who is an Assumption driver?
Defendant concedes, for the purpose of its motion, that at least some
drivers it classifies as Assumption drivers "live, eat and breathe" at
the Decatur terminal (as it must, for the purpose of the motion). And we
believe that is fatal to its motion.
Who in fact is essentially operating out of Decatur, doing Decatur
bargaining unit work, is very much disputed, and what factual standards
should be used to determine who is a Decatur driver and who is an
Assumption driver has yet to be fully explored. But if a driver who is
classified by the employer as an Assumption driver is in reality a
Decatur bargaining unit driver, the employer has an obligation to make
contributions to fund the plaintiffs' obligation to pay benefits. See
Moriarty v. Svec, 164 F.3d 323, 334-35 (7th Cir. 1998). Defendant's
motion for summary judgment is denied. Plaintiffs' motion pursuant to
Rule 56(f) for continuance of defendant's motion for summary judgment is
denied as moot Plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration or to strike is
denied as moot.
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