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Brock Industrial Services, LLC v. Laborers International Union of North America

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 27, 2017

BROCK INDUSTRIAL SERVICES, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
LABORERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, CONSTRUCTION & GENERAL LABORERS LOCAL #100, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge.

         Pending before the Court are the following four motions: a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Doc. 15) filed by Laborers International Union of North America, Construction & General Laborers Local #100 (“Laborers”); a Motion to Vacate (Doc. 18) filed by Brock Industrial Services, LLC (“Brock”); a Motion to Dismiss the Motion to Vacate (Doc. 26) filed by Laborers; and a Motion to Enforce (Doc. 30) filed by Laborers. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies all four motions.

         Factual & Procedural Background

         This action arises out of a distribution of labor assignment dispute between Brock and Laborers. Specifically, Brock seeks to have the April 14, 2016 decision by the National Maintenance Agreement Policy Committee, Inc. (“NMAPC”) Grievance Review Subcommittee (“GRS”) vacated by the Court. The Court will refer to the April 14, 2016 decision from this point forward as “the GRS decision.”

         The facts leading to the GRS decision are largely uncontested. Brock and Laborers agreed to the National Maintenance Agreement collective bargaining agreement (“NMA”) with an effective date of January 7, 2016. (Doc. 1-3, p. 11). The NMA provides in pertinent part that “[e]xcept for jurisdictional disputes . . . all disputes and grievances arising out of work performed under this Agreement . . . shall be resolved . . . ” through the procedure outlined in Article VI-Grievances of the NMA (hereafter referred to as “the procedure for disputes and grievances”) (Doc. 1-3, p. 15). This procedure for disputes and grievances requires the parties to submit any grievance that they cannot resolve to the NMACP for a decision. (Doc. 1-3, p. 15). For work jurisdictional disputes, a different procedure under the NMA applies, beginning at Article I, Section 6 (hereafter referred to as “the procedure for jurisdictional disputes”) (Doc. 1-3, p. 12-13).[1]

         On January 8, 2016, Brock notified Laborers that scaffolding work, which was to be performed at the Afton Chemical Plant, would be assigned to the International Brotherhood of Carpenters (“Carpenters”) (Doc. 18-1). On January 11, 2016, Laborers notified the NMAPC via letter that Brock violated the NMA when it wrongfully terminated Laborers and subsequently awarded the scaffolding work to Carpenters on January 8, 2016 (Doc. 1-3, p. 35). On January 21, 2016, Laborers also notified Carpenters that there was a work jurisdiction dispute between their respective organizations over the scaffolding work (Doc. 1-3, p. 37).

         On January 25, 2016, in accordance with the procedure for disputes and grievances (Article VI-Grievances) in the NMA, Laborers filed a grievance with the NMAPC over the January 8, 2016 work assignment, alleging that a wrongful termination of Laborers' members had occurred and seeking the reinstatement of those members (Doc. 1-3, p. 39). On March 3, 2016, Brock responded to the grievance, asserting that the dispute relating to the January 8, 2016 work assignment was a work jurisdiction dispute and was therefore beyond the scope of the NMAPC's arbitration authority. Brock further requested that the grievance be dismissed and denied (Doc. 1-3, p. 54).

         The GRS denied Brock's request and, on April 14, 2016, found that “a violation of Article I, Section 5 of the National Maintenance Agreement occurred when [Brock] made a change of assignment and therefore the grievance was sustained.” (Doc. 1-3, p. 3). Specifically, this section of the NMA cited by the GRS reads as follows: “During the existence of the Agreement, there shall be no strikes, lockouts, work stoppages, or picketing arising out of any jurisdictional dispute. Work will continue as originally assigned, pending resolution of the dispute.” (Doc. 1-3, p. 12). The GRS decision then directed the parties to “avail themselves of the NMACP Work Assignment Dispute Process contained within Article I commencing with Section 6” (the procedure for jurisdictional disputes) (Doc. 1-3, p. 3).

         Brock and Laborers disagree over whether Brock's January 8, 2016 assignment of scaffolding work to Carpenters involves a work jurisdiction dispute or a wrongful termination (or lockout) in addition to a work jurisdiction dispute. Related to this issue, Brock and Laborers disagree over whether Brock previously assigned scaffolding work to Laborers prior to the January 8, 2016 assignment of scaffolding work to Carpenters, and thus effectively terminated Laborers from the work by reassigning it to Carpenters.

         On July 12, 2016, Brock filed suit against Laborers pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 185, seeking to have the GRS decision vacated on the basis that it is outside the scope of the GRS's arbitration authority (Doc. 1).[2] Since that time, there have been four motions filed with the Court, one by Brock and three by Laborers, all of which are interrelated. Specifically, on August 2, 2016, Laborers filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 15), seeking dismissal of the Complaint for failure to state a claim. On September 19, 2016, Brock filed a Motion to Vacate (Doc. 18), seeking to have the GRS decision vacated. On September 30, 2016, Laborers filed a Motion to Dismiss the Motion to Vacate (Doc. 26), seeking to have Brock's Motion to Vacate dismissed on timeliness grounds, as well as being redundant with Brock's Complaint. Lastly, on November 28, 2016, Laborers filed a Motion to Enforce (Doc. 30), seeking to have the GRS decision enforced.

         Analysis

         I. Motion to Dismiss the Motion to Vacate (Doc. 26)

         As a preliminary matter, the Court will address the Motion to Dismiss the Motion to Vacate (Doc. 26) filed by Laborers. Laborers argues that Brock's Motion to Vacate (Doc. 18) is untimely under the statute of limitations pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), but gives no explanation as to how or why the FAA should control the statute of limitations here. Moreover, Brock does not raise an FAA claim in the Complaint, but brings its claims solely pursuant to the Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”). Thus, the Court finds Laborers' timeliness argument to be largely undeveloped. The Court also does not find it appropriate to strike the Motion to Vacate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f)(2). Accordingly, the Court denies the Motion to Dismiss the Motion to Vacate (Doc. 26) filed by Laborers.[3]

         II. Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Doc. 15) filed by Laborers

         a. Applicable Law

         To withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a complaint must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Although a complaint does not need to include detailed factual allegations, there “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at 555. Under this plausibility standard, a court must “accept the well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true, but [it] ‘need not accept as true legal conclusions, or threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements.'“ Alam v. Miller Brewing Co., 709 F.3d 662, 665-66 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009)). A court “must consider the complaint in its entirety, as well as other sources courts ...


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