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Akers National Roll Company v. United Steel

March 13, 2012

AKERS NATIONAL ROLL COMPANY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STEEL, PAPER AND FORESTRY, RUBBER, MANUFACTURING, ENERGY, ALLIED INDUSTRIAL AND SERVICE WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION AND ITS LOCAL UNION 1138-4 OFFICE AND TECHNICAL, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David Stewart Cercone United States District Judge

Electronic Filing

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, Akers National Roll Company ("Akers" or "Plaintiff"), filed a Complaint to vacate an award entered in a labor arbitration with Defendants, United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union ("USP&F"), and its Local Union 1138-4 Office and Technical (the "Local") (collectively the "Union" or "Defendants"). The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment, and the matter is now before the Court.

II. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

The Union and the Local are labor organizations representing certain Akers employees as defined by Sections 2(5), 502(1) and 502(3) of the Labor Management Relations Act (the "LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 141 et seq. Plaintiff's Concise Statement of Material Fact ("Plaintiff's CSMF") ¶

2. Akers manufactures advanced metal technology rolls for hot and cold strip mills and operates a manufacturing plant in Avonmore, Pennsylvania (the "Plant"). Plaintiff's CSMF

¶ 5. The Union is the exclusive bargaining representative for the clerical and technical employees at the Plant, and the Local represents these employees for certain purposes. Plaintiff's CSMF ¶

6. Akers and the Union are parties to a collective bargaining agreement (the "CBA"), effective from September 1, 2008, to February 29, 2012. Plaintiff's CSMF ¶ 7; Defendants' Concise Statement of Material Fact ("Defendants' CSMF") ¶ 1.

Nelson Lubik ("Lubik"), a maintenance clerk at the Plant and an employee as defined under the CBA, filed three grievances against Akers dated February 17, 2009, March 2, 2009, and March 10, 2009. Plaintiff's CSMF ¶¶ 8 & 9. In each of the grievances, Lubik alleged that Akers violated the CBA when he was directed not to work weekend shifts during the same time that employees of the maintenance department were scheduled to work. Plaintiff's CSMF ¶ 9. Lubik contended that Akers was liable for the overtime pay he would have been paid under the CBA had he been scheduled to work. Plaintiff's CSMF ¶ 10.

The CBA includes a procedure for the "efficient processing and settlement of grievances." Defendants' CSMF ¶ 2. If the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the CBA allows for the grievance to be taken to arbitration. Id. Akers denied the grievances contending that it had the right under the CBA to schedule its workforce. Plaintiff's CSMF ¶ 11. On June 17, 2010, an arbitration hearing was held before Arbitrator Richard D. Sambuco (the "Arbitrator"). Plaintiff's CSMF ¶ 17; Defendants' CSMF ¶¶ 2 & 3. At the arbitration, Akers and the Union stipulated that all three grievances presented the same issue. Plaintiff's CSMF ¶ 17.

It was the Union's position that because Lubik was always asked to work on weekend shifts when the maintenance personnel were scheduled to work, whether or not his name was listed on the schedule, Akers established a past practice that obligated Akers to allow Lubik the option to work on any weekend that maintenance personnel were scheduled to work. In addition to its argument that the CBA vested it with the exclusive right and discretion to schedule its employees working hours, Akers also argued that a "zipper clause" in the CBA prohibited the establishment of any past practice.

The Arbitrator determined that issue*fn1 was:

Did the parties to the [CBA] . . . establish, by their actions in the year 2008, an unwritten past practice and did [Akers] violate this past practice? If ...


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