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Exel Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division

June 18, 2015

EXEL INC., Plaintiff,
v.
INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, LOCAL NO. 600, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JOHN A. ROSS, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on the Parties' Cross Motions for Summary Judgment (Docs. 16, 23). The Motions are fully briefed and ready for disposition. For the following reasons, Plaintiff Exel, Inc.'s ("Exel" or "the Company"[1]) Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 16) will be DENIED and Defendant International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local No. 600's ("Teamsters Local 600" or "the Union") Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 23) will be GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

The Parties do not dispute the following facts.[2] Exel, a Massachusetts corporation, is engaged in the business of third party logistics services in various locations. Exel owns and operates a trailer switching operation in Jackson, Missouri. Exel employs approximately 42 drivers at the Jackson, Missouri operation. The drivers employed by Exel at its Jackson, Missouri operation are represented by the Union for the purposes of collective bargaining. Exel and the Union were parties to a collective bargaining agreement covering the drivers at the Jackson, Missouri operation for the period from September 10, 2012 to September 9, 2014 (the "CBA") (Doc. 1-2).

Article 12 of the CBA lays out the agreed upon grievance procedure. Exel and the Union were unable to resolve several grievances in the first three steps of the grievance procedure and therefore agreed to consolidate these grievances into a single arbitration proceeding. Pursuant to Step 4, formal arbitration, the Parties selected George Fitzsimmons ("the Arbitrator") to preside over the arbitration proceeding. Step 4 additionally states, in relevant part, the following:

Each party may appear and present evidence at the hearing before the selected arbitrator, whose decision will be final and binding on all parties and affected employees, provided the decision is made within the authority granted by the parties.

(Id. at 17).

The Parties agreed that they would present a written stipulation of facts and the issue for consideration by the Arbitrator. The Parties filed a Stipulation of Uncontested Facts and the Issue ("the Stipulation") drafted by the Company's attorney and executed by a non-attorney Union Officer. In the Stipulation, the Parties indicate, "The parties have agreed to submit to the Arbitrator this Stipulation of Uncontested Facts and the Issue, without prejudice to the rights of either party to advance arguments in support of their respective contentions" (Doc. 1-3 at 1). In paragraph 11, the Parties described the grievances, which were not attached to the Stipulation, as follows: "Grievances were filed asserting that, under the CBA, hours of holiday pay should be counted as hours worked for overtime purposes" (Id. at 3). The Stipulation included several provisions of the CBA. Specifically, the Stipulation cited to Article 23 of the CBA, entitled "Holidays, "

Eligible employees working on any recognized holiday will receive holiday pay in addition to pay at time and one-half (11/2) the regular straight time rate for work performed. Holiday pay will be eight (8) times the applicable hourly rate. Holiday pay shall not be pyramided with hours worked for overtime purposes.

(Id. at 2). The Stipulation also cited to Article 27, "Wage Schedules, " which in relevant part reads, "Overtime premium is paid only on hours actually worked" (Id. ). Finally, the Stipulation included the following stipulation of the issue:

Did the Company violate the CBA by failing to count hours of holiday pay as hours worked for overtime purposes, and, if so, what is the appropriate remedy?

(Id. at 4).

The Union and Exel submitted written briefs to the Arbitrator on January 20, 2014 and January 23, 2014 respectively (Doc. 17-2 at 4-48). In its brief, the Union noted, "The Union... has mutually agreed that this matter at hand be settled by a Stipulation of Uncontested Facts and Issues" (Id. at 6). The Union's brief included a discussion regarding how overtime was paid for employees who actually worked on holidays in November and December of 2012 as well as a reference to a conference call that allegedly occurred in May 2013 (Id. at 5). The Union also incorporated the grievances of Thomas Ring and Tim Kassinger for Memorial Day 2013, and a blanket grievance for Independence Day 2013 in its background section and then attached the grievances to its brief (Id. at 5, 15, 17, 20). The Union additionally addressed how holiday pay is treated under a different collective bargaining agreement between Exel and the Union for a different operation including a copy of an old grievance regarding the treatment of holiday pay at that facility (Id. at 6, 24). The Union also cited to cases that dealt with the treatment of actual hours worked on overtime pay (Id. at 7-9). On the other hand, in its brief, Exel argued that "The Union here is seeking to include all holiday pay as time worked for purposes of computing overtime under Article 27. We submit that it simply cannot be done under the plain terms of the Labor Agreement" (Id. at 45). The Company did not submit any exhibits.

On March 18, 2014, the Arbitrator issued an arbitration award (the "Award") (Doc. 1-1). The Arbitrator identified the grievants as Tim Kassinger, Thomas Ring and Larry Buckles[3] "claiming the Employer violated the Contract by not including every hour of holiday pay as additional hours worked for purposes of computing overtime pay" (Doc. 1-1 at 3). The Arbitrator identified the issue as:

Did the Employer violate the Contract by failing to include every hour of holiday pay as additional hours worked for the purpose of computing overtime pay? If so, what shall be the remedy?

(Id. at 3). While the Arbitrator noted, "there seems to be somewhat of a disconnect between the Stipulated Issue and the arguments in the briefs, " he addressed both the Union and the Company's positions and concluded:

The grievances filed herein are sustained. The Company is ordered to make those employees whole by adding the hours actually worked by the employees on a contractually designated holiday to hours actually worked that work week in paying overtime over 40 hours worked that work week.
Insofar as any grievance seeks to add the contractual benefit of eight hours straight time holiday pay to the hours actually worked that ...

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