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The Trustees of the v. Teamster Union Local 115

April 12, 2012

THE TRUSTEES OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
TEAMSTER UNION LOCAL 115



MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff in this action, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania ("University") filed this action against Defendant Teamsters Union Local 115 ("Local 115") seeking to vacate an arbitration award issued pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement between the parties. Currently before the Court are the Joint Stipulation and Record submitted by the parties (Doc. 21), the University's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 22), Local 115's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 23), the University's Response papers (Doc. 24), and Local 115's Response papers (Doc. 25). Oral argument was held on February 24, 2012. For the reasons stated below, the court will grant summary judgment in favor of the Defendant and affirm the arbitration award.

I. BACKGROUND

The facts in this matter are undisputed. Local 115 is a labor organization representing approximately 600 employees at the University, seven of whom are bus drivers employed within the University's Division of Business Services, Department of Parking and Transportation, and the remaining are housekeepers employed in the University's Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services. (Joint Stipulation and Record ("J.A.") ¶ 2.) The University and Local 115 are parities to a collective bargaining agreement governing the period at issue (the "Agreement"). (J.A. ¶ 3.) The Agreement contained several provisions relevant to this action. Article VI, "Non-Discrimination," provided, in relevant part, that there can be no discrimination by either party based on union membership or union activity. (J.A. Ex. A at 3.) Article XXVI, "Miscellaneous," provided, in relevant part, that the parties agree not to act arbitrarily or capriciously with respect to the Agreement. (J.A. Ex. A at 20-21.) Finally, Article XXVII, "Maintenance of Standards," provided, in relevant part, that the parties will continue past practices that are not specifically memorialized in the Agreement. (J.A. Ex. A at 21.)

On February 10 and 11, 2010, the University was closed due to a major snowstorm. (J.A. ¶ 4.) Some housekeepers in the Local 115 bargaining unit reported for work on those days and were paid their regular rate. (J.A. ¶ 5.) Other housekeepers in the Local 115 bargaining unit did not report for work. In accordance with past practice between the parties with respect to emergency closure, those employees who had available sick, vacation, or personal time used that time and were paid for those days, and those employees who did not have available sick, vacation, or personal time were not paid for those days and were not disciplined for not reporting to work. (J.A. ¶ 6.) Seven drivers in the Local 115 bargaining unit, who were not part of the housekeepers business unit, were paid during the closure. (J.A. ¶ 17.) Members of another bargaining unit, Local 835, also received pay for February 10 and 11, even if they did not report to work due to inclement weather. (J.A. ¶ 18.)

The parties agree that, under the parties' past practice, Local 115 bargaining unit employees who do not work on days the University closes due to inclement weather are not paid, and are expected to use their own leave time if they do not report to work. (J.A. ¶ 13-14.)

Likewise, it was the parties' longstanding practice not to discipline those Local 115 bargaining unit employees who did not report during inclement weather and did not have remaining leave time. (J.A. ¶ 15.) The parties' understood that this practice would be extended to the February 10 and 11 closures. (J.A. ¶ 16.) It was also past practice not to provide paid time off for snow closures to members of Local 835. (J.A. ¶ 19.) The payment of the seven drivers in the Local 115 bargaining unit and the employees of Local 835 appears to have been an error made by relatively new members of management who were unfamiliar with the past practice. (J.A. Ex. F at 5.)

On March 15, 2010, Local 115 filed a grievance requesting that those housekeepers who did not come to work but used their available leave time during the February 10 and 11 closures have that time restored to their leave banks. The grievance also requested that those housekeepers who had no available leave time and were not paid during the closure be paid. (J.A. ¶ 7.) The University denied the grievance and the parties proceeded to arbitration, pursuant to the Agreement, before Arbitrator Marianne Schick. (J.A. ¶ 8-9.)

The Arbitrator framed the issue as follows:

Did the Employer violate the collective bargaining agreement by not giving employees paid time off for the two days the University of Pennsylvania was closed on February 10-11, 2010?

The Arbitrator considered the Agreement, testimony from both sides, and exhibits offered by both parties. (J.A. Ex. F at 2.) Both parties were represented by counsel. The Arbitrator found that there existed a long standing policy, applied across various bargaining units, including Local 115 and Local 835, of not paying employees for "snow days." (Id. at 8.) She found that the payment of Local 835 employees and seven Local 115 drivers for the February 10 and 11 closures was the action of University managers who were unfamiliar with the past practice. (Id. at 9.) Therefore, she held that, for purposes of the "Maintenance of Standards" clause in Article XXVII of the Agreement, the deviation did not establish a new past practice. (Id. at 11.)

However, the Arbitrator determined that the deviation altered the past practice on the occasion in question, to the detriment of those Local 115 employees who were not paid. (Id. at 9.) She found that the deviation was "arbitrar[y] and capricious[]" in violation of Article XXVI of the Agreement. (Id.) She also found that the deviation constituted discrimination due to Union activity, in violation of Article VI of the Agreement, because the University, despite a uniform past practice across the Local 115 and Local 835 bargaining units, treated Local 835 more favorably in this instance. (Id. at 9-10.) Therefore, she ordered the University to pay those employees in the Local 115 unit who were not previously paid for the February 10 and 11 snow closure. (Id. at 11.)

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A. Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is appropriate where the moving party establishes that "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Levy v. Sterling Holding Co., 544 F.3d 493, 501 (3d Cir. 2008). Only a factual dispute that is both genuine and material will defeat a motion for summary judgment. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). The moving party bears the initial burden to demonstrate that there are no facts on record that support the non-moving party's position. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). If the moving party carries this burden, the non-moving party must then present specific facts showing the existence of a genuine issue for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1986). At the summary judgment stage, ...


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