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General Mills, Inc. v. BCTGM Local 316G

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

October 10, 2014

GENERAL MILLS, INC. and its affiliate GENERAL MILLS OPERATIONS, LLC, Plaintiffs,
v.
BCTGM LOCAL 316G, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

GEORGE M. MAROVICH, District Judge.

On rare occasions, a dispute about six minutes worth of work becomes a federal case. This is one of those occasions. After plaintiffs concluded that one of their employees had, on three occasions, fraudulently signed time cards stating she had arrived at work minutes before she actually had (in order to avoid being punished for tardiness), the plaintiffs discharged the employee. The defendant filed a grievance, which the parties ultimately took to arbitration. The arbitrator agreed that the discharged employee had intentionally deceived her employer but thought discharge too strong a punishment. The arbitrator awarded reinstatement, one week of backpay to the employee and three weeks of backpay (at the employee's wage) to the defendant local union.

Plaintiffs General Mills, Inc. and its affiliate General Mills Operations, LLC (together, "General Mills") filed suit against BCTGM Local 316G (the "Union"). In its complaint, General Mills asks the Court to vacate the portion of the arbitration decision that awarded backpay to the Union. The Union, in its counterclaim, asks the Court to enforce the arbitrator's decision. Both sides have moved for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and denies defendant's motion for summary judgment.

I. Background

Local Rule 56.1 outlines the requirements for the introduction of facts parties would like considered in connection with a motion for summary judgment. The Court enforces Local Rule 56.1 strictly. Facts that are argued but do not conform with the rule are not considered by the Court. For example, facts included in a party's brief but not in its statement of facts are not considered by the Court because to do so would rob the other party of the opportunity to show that such facts are disputed. Where one party supports a fact with admissible evidence and the other party fails to controvert the fact with citation to admissible evidence, the Court deems the fact admitted. See Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Services, Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817-818 (7th Cir. 2004). This does not, however, absolve the party putting forth the fact of its duty to support the fact with admissible evidence. See Keeton v. Morningstar, Inc., 667 F.3d 877, 880 (7th Cir. 2012). Asserted "facts" not supported by deposition testimony, documents, affidavits or other evidence admissible for summary judgment purposes are not considered by the Court.

The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.

The parties to this case are parties to two collective bargaining agreements: (1) a master agreement (the "Master CBA") between General Mills and the Union's International affiliate and (2) a supplement agreement (the "Supplemental CBA") between the Union and General Mills. The Master CBA provides, in relevant part:

ARTICLE 1. PREAMBLE

* * *

Section 1.02 NATURE OF AGREEMENT
* * *
1.02-2 - This contract represents the agreement reached between the parties as a result of having collectively bargained in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, and other conditions of employment, and its purpose is to promote and insure harmonious relations and understanding between the Company and its Employees. To that end the Company pledges itself to give its Employees considerate and courteous treatment, and the Employees, in turn, pledge themselves to render the Company loyal, efficient and cooperative service.
* * *
ARTICLE 8. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
* * *
Section 8.05 - No grievance will be considered by the Labor Relations Committee unless presented in writing and properly signed. It is agreed that grievances must be presented within ...

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