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United Steel, Paper & Forestry, Rubber, Mfg., Energy, Allied Industrial & Service Workers Int'l Union v. PPG Indus., Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

May 9, 2014

UNITED STEEL, PAPER AND FORESTRY, RUBBER, MANUFACTURING, ENERGY, ALLIED INDUSTRIAL AND SERVICE WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION, AFL-CIO, CLC and LOCAL UNION 193-G, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
PPG INDUSTRIES, INC., Defendant-Appellee

Argued December 6, 2013.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of District of Illinois. No. 09-2306 -- Harold A. Baker, Judge.

For UNITED STEEL, PAPER AND FORESTRY, RUBBER, MANUFACTURING, ENERGY, ALLIED INDUSTRIAL AND SERVICE WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION, AFL-CIO, CLC, LOCAL UNION 193-G, Plaintiffs - Appellants: Stephen A. Yokich, Attorney, CORNFIELD & FELDMAN, Chicago, IL.

For PPG INDUSTRIES, INCORPORATED, Defendant - Appellee: Joseph James Torres, Attorney, WINSTON & STRAWN LLP, Chicago, IL.

Before KANNE and ROVNER, Circuit Judges, and DURKIN, District Judge.[*]

OPINION

Page 581

Rovner, Circuit Judge .

Plaintiffs United Steelworkers and Local Union 193-G (collectively, " the Union" ) and defendant PPG Industries disagreed about whether PPG timely presented bargaining

Page 582

proposals under a collective bargaining agreement. The parties entered into arbitration, and the arbitrator ruled that some proposals were timely and others were not. The Union then filed suit to enforce the arbitrator's award. See 29 U.S.C. § 185(a). According to the Union, PPG violated the award by implementing certain economic proposals that the arbitrator had deemed untimely. The district court granted summary judgment to PPG, concluding that the arbitrator's award did not preclude PPG from implementing those proposals. The Union argues on appeal that the district court misconstrued the award. But neither the text of the arbitrator's decision nor the arbitration record supports the Union's desired interpretation of the award. To accept the Union's arguments, we would have to substantively alter the award in the Union's favor. Because we may not do so, we affirm.

I.

PPG manufactures flat glass at a facility located in Mt. Zion, Illinois. The Union represents a bargaining unit comprising production and maintenance employees at the Mt. Zion plant. The relationship between PPG and the Union has long been governed by a collective bargaining agreement.

PPG informed the Union in April 2009 that it wanted to modify the agreement in an effort to reduce labor costs. Article XXXIV, Section 2 of the agreement specifies how the parties can propose modifications to the agreement. A party seeking to alter the agreement must provide 30 days' notice of its intent to seek changes. The parties are then required to meet in conference at least 10 days before the agreement expires. Any proposed changes " shall be presented not later than the first day of the conference" by the party seeking to modify the agreement.

After PPG informed the Union of its intent to modify the agreement, the parties' representatives attended an informal meeting on May 14, 2009. At the meeting PPG explained why it was seeking to alter the agreement and set forth, in general terms, its desired changes. According to PPG, its labor costs exceeded its competitors' by $10 an hour; to remain competitive it required a reduction in labor costs from $37 to $27 per hour. One possible method of achieving this reduction in costs, PPG explained, would be to implement a " two-tier" wage system, in which " first-tier" wages would be paid to existing employees and lower " second-tier" compensation would be paid to new hires and employees recalled from layoff. PPG intended to buy out some existing ...


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