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International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, AFL-CIO v. Sam J. Chellino Crane Rental

September 20, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Virginia M. Kendall United States District Court Judge Northern District of Illinois

Judge Virginia M. Kendall


Plaintiff International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, AFL-CIO ("Local 150") filed this suit seeking to enforce seven Joint Grievance Committee ("JGC") arbitration awards against Defendant Chellino Crane Rental, Inc. ("Chellino") and to vacate an award entered by the National Maintenance Agreement Policy Committee ("NMAPC") against Local 150 pursuant to the National Maintenance Agreement ("NMA"). Chellino filed a counterclaim seeking to enforce the NMAPC award and vacate the seven JGC awards. Local 150 moves for summary judgment on its Complaint and on the remainder of Chellino's Counterclaim. Chellino cross-moves for summary judgment on its Counterclaim. For the reasons set forth herein, Local 150's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted in its entirety, and Chellino's Motion for Summary Judgment is denied in its entirety.


I. The Parties

Local 150 is a labor organization representing employees in industries affecting commerce, including crane operators located in northern Illinois, northwest Indiana, and eastern Iowa. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 2; Local 150 56.1 Resp. ¶ 1.) Local 150's principal offices are located in Countryside, Illinois. (Local 150 56.1 Resp. ¶ 2.) James Sweeney ("Sweeney") has been Local 150's President and Business Manager since July of 2008. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 3.)

Chellino, an Illinois corporation, has offices in Joliet, Illinois ("Joliet") and operates throughout Local 150's geographic area. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 4; Local 150 56.1 Resp. ¶ 3.) Chellino provides crane rental services to business entities including the Exxon Mobil Refinery (the "Refinery") in Joliet. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 4.) Greg Chellino has served as Chellino's President for the past ten years. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 4.)

II. The Illinois Building Agreement

Chellino became a signatory to the Mid-America Regional Bargaining Association ("MARBA") Districts 1-2-3 Illinois Building Agreement ("IBA") on or about May 8, 1996. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 5; Local 150 56.1 Resp. ¶ 19.) The 2007-2010 IBA was in effect from June 1, 2007 through May 31, 2010 and covered the Illinois counties of Will, Cook, and DuPage.

(Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 6.) A previous IBA, the 2000-2007 IBA, had been in effect from June 1, 2000 through May 31, 2007.*fn2 (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 7.)

Both the 2001-2007 and 2007-2010 IBAs set forth a procedure governing grievances that arise concerning the IBA's interpretation or application. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 10-11.) The procedure has four steps, culminating in arbitration. (Chellino 56.1 Add'l Resp. ¶ 5.) Under the procedure, disputes that cannot be resolved by a first-level conference between union and employer representatives are referred to a second-level formal conference panel. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 11-12.) If the grievance remains unresolved, a Joint Grievance Committee ("JGC") comprising an equal number of union and employer members has the authority to resolve the grievance by majority vote. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 13.) The IBA further provides that liquidated damages must be paid on any grievance award entered by the JGC that is not paid within seven days of the date of the award, as well as attorneys' fees for award-enforcement actions. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 55.)

With respect to the substance of the dispute between the parties here, both the 2001-2007 and the 2007-2010 IBAs provided that an employer-signatory was to employ a Craft Foreman when eight or more bargaining-unit members are employed on any one shift at any one project, or at each yard or shop from which eight or more bargaining-unit members receive work assignments. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 18, 21.) One or more Assistant Craft Foremen were to be employed on any shift where there are more than thirty bargaining unit members employed. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 18, 21.) The Craft Foreman was responsible for general day-to-day supervision of employees and machinery, but did not have authority to "exercise any of the functions customarily exercised by supervisors within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act . . . ." (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 20, 23.) The 2001-2007 IBA provided that the Craft Foreman and Assistant Craft Foreman positions were to be filled by mutual agreement of the union and employer, unless the selected employee had worked for the employer for more than ten years. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 22.) The 2007-2010 IBA, however, provided that the two positions were to be filed by mutual agreement in all cases, with no exceptions. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 19.)

III. The National Maintenance Agreement

The NMA is a national agreement applicable to maintenance, repair, replacement, and renovation work that is primarily within the recognized and traditional work jurisdiction of a signatory union. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 8; Local 150 56.1 Resp. ¶ 14.) The NMA is administered by the NMAPC, which is headquartered in Virginia. (Local 150 56.1 Resp. ¶ 6.) Chellino and the International Union of Operating Engineers, AFL-CIO, are signatories to the NMA for, among other activities, work that Chellino performs at the Joliet Refinery. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 9.)

The NMA states that it "is a stand-alone Agreement and none of the provisions in any local, regional/area or national collective bargaining agreement shall apply, unless specifically incorporated in this Agreement." (Local 150 56.1 Resp. ¶ 16.) With respect to foremen, the NMA provides that "[t]he designation, appointment and determination of the number of foremen and/or general foremen is the sole responsibility of the Employer." (Local 150 56.1 Resp. ¶ 15.) The NMA also states that employers are to "hire craftworkers in any territory where work is being performed . . . in accordance with the hiring procedure existing in the territory . . . ." (Local 150 56.1 Resp. ¶ 14; Chellino 56.1 Add'l Resp. ¶ 20.)

The NMA provides for a five-step grievance procedure, with provisions for jobsite negotiations, for NMAPC adjudication, and for arbitration in the event that the NMAPC is unable to reach a decision. (Local 150 56.1 Resp. ¶ 16.) "Jurisdictional disputes" are to be resolved by negotiations between union and employer or by a Permanent Umpire designated by the NMAPC. (Local 150 56.1 Resp. ¶ 18.)

IV. The Craft Foreman Dispute Between Chellino and Local 150

As described above, the 2001-2007 IBA allowed Chellino to unilaterally appoint Craft Foremen and Assistant Craft Foremen who had worked for Chellino for more than ten years. On several occasions during the applicability of this IBA, Chellino unilaterally appointed individuals who met this criterion to serve as Craft Foreman and Assistant Craft Foremen for Chellino projects at the Refinery and elsewhere. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 38-41.)

The new IBA, which went into effect on June 7, 2007, required mutual selection of Craft Foremen and Assistant Craft Foremen in all cases. In August 2007, Greg Chellino and Local 150 mutually agreed upon the selection of Pete Metesh ("Metesh") as a Craft Foreman for the ExxonMobil Refinery. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 29.) Dean Rankovich ("Rankovich") acted as Local 150's agent in the selection process. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 29.) In January 2008, Rankovich named Dave Gerdez ("Gerdez") as an Assistant Craft Foreman, apparently without input from Greg Chellino, who was on vacation. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 30.) Shortly thereafter, Metesh ended his employment with Chellino, and Local 150 recommended David Papesh ("Papesh") as a new Craft Foreman for the Refinery site. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 32.) Greg Chellino, however, sought to appoint Tom Giarrante ("Giarrante") to the position. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 33.) After negotiations, Chellino and Local 150 mutually agreed that Gerdez would be promoted to the Craft Foreman position and that Papesh would be the Assistant Craft Foreman. (Chellino 56.1 Resp. ¶ 33.) Metesh, Gerdez, ...

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