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William Charles Construction Company, LLC v. Teamsters Local Union 627

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

February 23, 2015

WILLIAM CHARLES CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION 627, Defendant.

ORDER

JAMES E. SHADID, Chief District Judge.

Now before the Court is the Motion to Enforce Arbitration Award or, Alternatively, Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the Defendant/Counter-Claimant, Teamsters Local Union 627 (the "Union"). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion [8] is GRANTED.

Background

The Union is a labor organization representing employees in an industry affecting commerce within the meaning of Section 2(5) of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. ยง 152(5). Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant, William Charles Construction Company, is an employer within the meaning of Section 2(2) of the LMRA.

On or about January 14, 2013, the Illinois Department of Transportation ("IDOT") and certain Illinois AFL-CIO Building Trades signatories, including the Union, entered into a Project Labor Agreement ("PLA") covering a construction project known as the Biggsville Project. Plaintiff has signed a Contractor Letter of Assent binding it to the terms of the PLA. By signing the PLA, Plaintiff agreed "to be bound and abide by the terms of the following in order of precedent: (a) the applicable collective bargaining agreement between the Prime Contractor and one or more of the unions made signatory hereto... or the current applicable area collective bargaining agreement for the relevant Union that is the agreement certified by the Department of Labor for purposes of establishing the Prevailing Wage applicable to the Project." (PLA, Article 1.6) The only exception to this provision is where a contrary provision is specifically set forth elsewhere in the PLA, such as jurisdictional disputes as discussed in Article 5. Id.

Article 1.4 of the PLA states that "the employees working under this PLA shall constitute a bargaining unit separate and distinct from all others." Article 1.5 adds that "in the event of a variance or conflict, whether explicit or implicit, between the terms and conditions of the PLA and the provisions of any other applicable national, area, or local collective bargaining agreement, the terms and conditions of this PLA shall supersede and control." Article 5.1 states that if disputes other than jurisdictional disputes arise under a particular CBA, "said disputes shall be resolved by the Grievance/Arbitration procedure of the applicable collective bargaining agreement. The resulting determination from this process shall be final and binding on all parties bound to its process." Articles 6.4 through 6.15 then provide a method for resolving jurisdictional disputes between the parties, providing for the appointment of an arbitrator from a standing list to issue a final and binding decision.

The other agreement at play in this case by virtue of Articles 1.6 and 5.1 of the PLA is the area collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") between the Associated General Contractors of Illinois and the Illinois Conference of Teamsters (the "Articles of Construction Agreement" or "ACA"). As a result of the deferral of non-jurisdictional disputes to the area CBA set forth in Article 5.1 of the PLA, Article 21 of the ACA provides the applicable grievance and arbitration procedure for non-jurisdictional disputes: (1) the filing of grievances using the standard Grievance Form after attempt to resolve the grievance at the local level; (2) meeting between employer's representative and Local Union to attempt to reach an agreement; (3) referral to a Joint Committee to settle disputes that cannot be settled between the employer and the Local Union; and (4) submission to arbitration where the Joint Committee is deadlocked and a majority determines to submit the matter to an arbitrator for decision.

As part of its work on the Biggsville Project, Plaintiff used Articulated End Dump Trucks ("AED trucks"). On May 15, 2013, Plaintiff assigned operation of AED trucks to members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local No. 459 ("IUOE") and entered into an agreement with IUOE. The Union objected to this assignment as a violation of the Construction Site Jurisdictional Agreement between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and IUOE.

On October 30, 2013, Plaintiff, the Union, and IUOE appeared before Arbitrator Glenn A. Zipp for an arbitration hearing to determine which Union had jurisdiction over the AED Truck operation on the Biggsville Project. No request was made for back pay for the Union's workers. The next day, Arbitrator Zipp found that the AED truck work should be reassigned to the Union, and Plaintiff then hired workers represented by the Union to operate AED trucks on the project site.

On or about November 5, 2013, the Union filed a grievance against Plaintiff under the Articles of Construction Agreement ("ACA") between the Illinois Conference of Teamsters and Associated General Contractors of Illinois ("AGCI"). The grievance asserted:

On or about May 22, 2103, the above named contractor did assign the work of operating 16 articulate dump trucks on the Rt. 34 Biggsville by-pass over the objections of Local No. 627. It has since been ruled by an arbitrator (Mr. Glenn Zipp) that this is the work of the Teamsters. The decision was reached October 30, 2013.

(Grievance #XX-XX-XXXX).

On or about December 22, 2013, the Union filed a grievance against the Company asserting:

On or about November 21 and 22, the Company worked 2 people ahead of Mark Lane and Camber Hill which violated our seniority rights. We are asking to make whole for al ...

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