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Davison v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

February 20, 2015



JAMES E. SHADID, Chief District Judge.

This matter is now before the Court on Defendant International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local Union No. 627's ("Local 627") Motion for Summary Judgment [19]. This matter has been fully briefed. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.


The Morton Interchange Project ("Project") is a highway construction project at the intersection of I-155 and 74 in Morton, Illinois, located in Tazewell County. Fred Weber, Inc. ("Fred Weber" or "FWI") was the primary general contractor on the Project. The Project was covered by a Project Labor Agreement ("PLA") between the Illinois Department of Transportation ("IDOT") and other unions. Under Article 1.5 of the PLA, the applicable area collective agreement is the Articles of Construction Agreement between the Associated General Contractors of Illinois and the Illinois Conference of Teamsters ("AGC Agreement"). Fred Weber signed the AGC Agreement, but the agreement only applied to on-site work. Ed Walch ("Walch") was FWI's project manager for the Interchange Project and his responsibilities included working with FWI's team to coordinate the Project, administer subcontracts and purchase orders, hold pre-construction meetings with contractors and unions, keep track of the budget, and serve as a point of contact for any labor grievances.

Around October or November 2012, Plaintiff Sharon Davison ("Sharon"), who does business as S.K. Davison ("SKD") learned about the Interchange Project from the IDOT's website. On October 31, 2013, SKD submitted a bid for various types of trucking services on the Interchange Project. The bid included hourly rates for non-covered workers, hourly rates for on-site work, which would be prevailing wage, a rate for on and off-site wet batch, and tonnage rates for material hauling. Based on SKD's bid, FWI created at DBE Participation Statement that indicated SKD would be performing $3, 155, 250.00 worth of labor on the Interchange Project; of that amount, $1.9 million worth of work would be on-site trucking work. In addition, to the on-site trucking work, SKD anticipated performing on-site mowing work. In the early part of 2013, Sharon or Ed Davison contacted Greg Wheet ("Wheet"), Local 627's Secretary-Treasurer, regarding the Interchange Project. The Davisons requested a sample copy of hauling agreements, but stated they would not sign Local 627's AGC Agreement.

Local 627 was informed early on that SKD would be performing both on-site and off-site work; but what was unclear, was the specific volume of off-site work SKD would perform. In March 2013, there was a pre-job meeting concerning the Interchange Project. Both Sharon and Ed were present; Wheet was present also. During the meeting, Wheet asked Sharon if SKD had a contract for trucking on the Project, to which she responded, "I don't have a contract on trucking." Ed Davidson told Local 627 that SKD would be performing "transportation" work. At the time of the pre-job meeting, Sharon anticipated performing on-site trucking work on the Interchange Project.

On April 5, 2013, Local 627 and the Davisons had a meeting to determine what work SKD would be performing on the Interchange Project. Wheet and Local 627's principal officer Keith Gleason ("Gleason") were also in attendance. At that meeting, Gleason indicated if SKD planned on performing on-site trucking work it would need to sign a letter of assent and it would be bound by the AGC Agreement. The Davisons told Local 627 that SKD would perform trucking, which included both on-site and off-site work. Sharon also told Local 627 that SKD would sign the AGC Agreement if the union would make an amendment to the AGC Agreement that excused SKD from contributing to the Central States Pension fund. After the April 5th meeting, SKD decided to terminate the mowing contract and rescinded the Letter of Assent because they did not want to be subject to the PLA. Despite rescinding both the mowing contract and Letter of Assent, SKD still intended to perform on-site trucking work related to Interchange Project.

On April 10, 2013, Local 627 filed a grievance against FWI stating FWI was violating Articles 1.2, 1.5, and 1.5 of the PLA by allowing SKD to work on the Interchange Project without requiring SKD to sign a collective bargaining agreement, a letter of assent, or otherwise agree in writing to comply with the applicable agreements. The grievance did not specify that Local 627 was only concerned about SKD performing on-site work.

On April 16, 2013, a grievance meeting was held between Local 627 and FWI. Gleason and Hopkins were present for Local 627 and Walch and Kevin Wallis ("Wallis") were present for FWI. During the meeting, FWI indicated they would only use SKD for off-site work and no on-site work. During the meeting there was a disagreement about what was considered on-site versus off-site work; however, FWI assured Local 627 it would monitor the work being performed and ensure SKD would not perform on-site work. On April 16, 2013, Walch sent an e-mail to Sharon in which he indicated he was working with Local 627 to determine what type of hauling is acceptable without the hauling company signing the local union contract. Walch also wrote "the issue of being a subcontractor or not is playing a part in whether off site hauling is allowable without a signed Teamster agreement." Walch Depo at 106:10-16, Plaintiff's Exhibit 15. As of April 16, 2013, Local 627 has not told Walch that SKD, as a non-signatory to its contract, could perform off-site work.

On April, 18, 2013, Walch asked Sharon to sign a letter indicating that SKD chose not to sign Local 627's agreement and therefore would be unable to perform the work as originally submitted. The letter also stated that the negotiations were still ongoing and Walch hoped to be able to use SKD as allowed by the project specification. As of April 18, 2013, Local 627 had not told Walch that FWI could use SKD for off-site work.

On April 25, 2013, Walch sent Gleason a Letter of Understanding stating "FWI plans to use Owner Operators signatory to Teamsters Local 627 or member of Local 627 in FWI or rental trucks to perform the following On Site (Covered) Hauling." Plaintiff's Exhibit 9. The letter also stated "FWI plans to use S.K. Davison tandems to perform the following Off Site (Non-Covered) Hauling." Id . On May 1, 2013, Gleason sent Walch a letter rejecting the Letter of Understanding. Specifically, the letter stated, "we have an issue with use of any hauler, including SKD, to perform working within the scope of the PLA or AGC Agreement without complying with such Agreements." Pl. Exh. 10. Walch understood this to mean Local 627 was requiring only union-represented employees be used to perform the off-site hauling work. The May 1, 2013 letter did not indicate that any company paying area standards could perform hauling work, regardless of whether they were a signatory to the union contract. At the time of the May 1, 2013 letter, the April grievance was still pending and was not specifically limited to on-site work by its terms. However, after FWI indicated it would not use SKD for on-site work, the Local 627 did not pursue its grievance, but rather held it in abeyance, which meant Local 627 reserved the right to bring it back up in the future and the grievance was not officially resolved.

SKD served as trucking broker for on-site work by arranging for owner-operators to perform on-site construction work. Serving as a trucking broker for on-site work was not a violation of the PLA or the ACG Agreement. On April 29, 2013 and April 30, 2013, SKD arranged for Local Boyzz Trucking to haul millings. FWI had a number of trucks on the Project and had the capacity to bring up its own trucks for off-site work; however, it would have not been economical as FWI would have to bring trucks from St. Louis where the company is based.

On May 7, 2013, Walch e-mailed Gleason confirming FWI would only use SKD for off-site work. On May 9, 2013, Local 627 filed a grievance against FWI stating "since May 7, 2013, FWI has been in violation of the agreement, in as much they have engaged a number of hauler [sic] to haul materials to the I-74 and I-155 Project in Morton. The work in question is covered under the Articles of Construction Agreement and requires that Qualified Drivers on Local Union 627's referral list be utilized to perform the work." The grievance considered both on-site and off-site work, but does not reference area standards. At the time of grievance Walch assumed that the grievance was covering off-site work because FWI had another company doing on-site work and the grievance specifically referenced haulers.

On May 13, 2013, Walch e-mailed Sharon and informed her that SKD could "not perform the work per standard practices without a grievance being filed against FWI." Walch Depo. at 120:21-121:6. As of May 13, 2013, Local 627 had not informed FWI that it could use SKD if they paid area standards. On May 14, 2013, Walsh ordered SKD to discontinue work on the Project. Walch testified had Local 627 not filed the April and May ...

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