United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Anheuser-Busch, LLC (“A-B” or “the
Company”) and defendant-counterplaintiff Local 1,
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO
(“IBEW Local 1” or “the Union”) are
parties to a collective bargaining agreement pursuant to
which they entered arbitration. The Company seeks to vacate
the April 22, 2016 labor arbitration award ordering
reinstatement of electrician Gerald Ray Squalls
(“Squalls” or “the Grievant”), who
was terminated by the Company on August 3, 2015. The Union
seeks an order enforcing the arbitration award. The parties
have filed cross-motions for summary judgment.
following facts are undisputed except where indicated. The
Union represents a bargaining unit of maintenance employees
at the Company's brewery in St. Louis, Missouri, and the
parties' relationship is covered by a collective
bargaining agreement (“CBA”). The CBA provides
for the filing of a grievance concerning disputes about the
meaning, interpretation, application, and violation of the
Squalls worked for the Company as an electrician and was a
member of the bargaining unit represented by the Union.
Squalls's job duties included working with high voltage
and high-speed machinery, including palletizers, a dangerous
piece of equipment with the capacity to crush and kill
people. Squalls's supervisor Russ Mathis saw Squalls
before the start of his July 17, 2015 shift and noticed that
Squalls was slow and struggling to eat a candy bar. Mathis
decided Squalls was not fit to work in that condition and
took him to a conference room. Mathis and another supervisor
filled out a Suspicion Observation Checklist, and the Company
decided to test Squalls for alcohol. Squalls took a
breathalyzer test and registered a blood alcohol content of
0.206, well above the legal limit for driving. A urine test
for other drugs was negative.
Company suspended Squalls pending investigation. Squalls said
he and a friend began drinking alcohol at 6:30 p.m. on
the night of his shift and that he stopped drinking at 8:30
p.m. because he knew he had to work at 11 p.m.. The Company
was concerned that Squalls did not realize he was impaired
and, taking into account that he and three other employees
had been suspended for drinking beer at work in January 2011,
the Company terminated Squalls on August 3, 2015 for
violation of its Rule 9, which prohibits “Being in a
condition which makes it impossible for you to perform your
work in a satisfactory manner.” Central to this case is
the meaning and application of the “Beer Drinking
Memorandum of Understanding” or “Beer Drinking
MOU, ” which is part of the CBA.
states as follows:
BEER DRINKING DISCIPLINE
The following progressive discipline shall apply to any
employee involved in the unauthorized consumption of beer on
plant premises before, during, or after the employee's
First Offense --- a one month suspension without pay.
Second Offense --- a second offense within a four-year period
- A two-month suspension without pay.
Third Offense --- a third offense within a four-year period
of having served a two-month suspension for unauthorized beer
consumption shall require discharge.
It is further understood and agreed that:
1. The levels of discipline provided above are firm. No
arbitrator shall have the power to reduce the level of
discipline unless the arbitrator finds that the employee is