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PSC Custom, LP v. United Steel

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 19, 2014

PSC Custom, LP, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, Local No. 11-770, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted April 16, 2014.

Page 1006

Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri - Springfield.

For PSC Custom, LP, Plaintiff - Appellee: Rick Eugene Temple, Springfield, MO.

For United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, Local No. 11-770, Defendant - Appellant: Amanda Marie Fisher, Daniel M. Kovalik, United Steelworkers of America, Pittsburgh, PA; John Philip Hurley, Jolley & Walsh, Kansas City, MO; Sasha Shapiro, Assistant General, Pittsburgh, PA.

Before WOLLMAN, BYE, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1007

WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge.

Local 11-770 of the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (the Union) appeals from the district court's order vacating an arbitration award. We reverse.

I. Background

PSC Custom, LP (PSC), manufactures tanks that are used to transport liquids. On May 17, 2011, PSC discharged Roy Buscher, an employee represented by the Union, for failing to perform a task that his supervisor had directed him to complete. As a member of the Union, Buscher was covered by a five-year collective bargaining agreement (the CBA) and by PSC's Standards of Conduct, a rule manual created pursuant to Article 29 of the CBA.

With respect to discharge, Article 21 of the CBA provides that " [n]o employee shall be discharged, demoted, or otherwise disciplined without good and sufficient cause." Article 29 sets forth certain " acts and conditions" that violate PSC's rules as well as the penalties associated with these violations. Relevant here, Article 29 states that insubordination carries the penalty of discharge: " Insubordination such as refusal to work on the job assigned, etc. consistent with the employee's classification and safety (penalty-discharge)." The Standards of Conduct also identify insubordination as a violation of PSC's rules that " will result in immediate termination." Buscher was discharged for insubordination under Article 29 and the Standards of Conduct. The Union grieved Buscher's discharge.

The CBA allows the Union to appeal grievances to arbitration. As is typical, the CBA limits the arbitrator's authority:

The arbitrator shall only have jurisdiction and authority to interpret, apply, or determine compliance and/or application of the express provisions of this Agreement at issue between the Union and the Company. It is understood that the arbitrator shall not have jurisdiction or ...

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