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United Steel v. Dana Holding Corp.

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro Division

January 2, 2018

UNITED STEEL, PAPER AND FORESTRY, RUBBER, MANUFACTURING, ENERGY, ALLIED INDUSTRIAL AND SERVICE WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION, AFL-CIO-CLC AND UNITED STEEL WORKERS LOCAL 9443-02 PLAINTIFFS
v.
DANA HOLDING CORPORATION DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOSEPH H. MCKINLEY, JR., CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATE DISTRICT COURT .

         This matter is before the Court on a motion by Defendant, Dana Holding Corporation, for summary judgment [DN 9]. Fully briefed, this matter is ripe for decision.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On December 17, 2015, the parties arbitrated a dispute over whether Dana had improperly removed certain Team Leaders from their positions in violation of the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. On March 22, 2016, Arbitrator Mollie H. Bowers issued her Opinion and Award. She ordered Dana to restore the Grievants to their previous positions as Team Leaders and to make them “whole for all lost earnings and for all benefits to which he/they would have been entitled if he/they had remained in the Team Leader positions which they occupied as of February 2, 2015.” (March 22, 2016, Arbitrator's Opinion and Award at 20.) The Arbitrator retained jurisdiction over the award for 90 working days. Id.

         Dana restored the Grievants to their previously held Team Leader positions. On April 8, 2016, Dana issued payments to the Grievants for the difference between the lower rate each Grievant had been paid and the respective Team Leader rates. (Cummings Decl. ¶ 6.) Dana represents that it included the appropriate multiples for overtime, vacation, and holiday hours in each payment. (Greenham Decl. ¶ 4.)

         USW maintains that Team Leaders work more overtime than other members of the bargaining unit. The record reflects that on June 22, 2016, within the 90-working-day period of the Arbitrator's retained jurisdiction, USW Staff Representative Richard Haas emailed Arbitrator Bowers, with a copy to Dana Human Resource Manager Darryle Cummings, asking for clarification of the remedy. (Haas Decl. ¶ 5.) Specifically, Hass communicated that Dana claimed it could not determine how much overtime the Grievants would have worked if they had remained in the Team Leader positions. (Id. at ¶¶ 4-5.) The parties never received a response from Arbitrator Bowers. According to USW, “[t]he Union did not follow up with Arbitrator Bowers because the parties appeared to be working toward a mutually agreeable settlement.” (Response at 2.)

         On August 4, 2016, Dana issued additional payments to the Grievants for 30 minutes per day of overtime. However, USW continued to believe that the Grievants would have worked more overtime, and the parties continued to discuss the matter.

         On March 16, 2017, USW Counsel Daniel M. Kovalik wrote to Dana's Human Resources Director Darryle Cumming and informed Cummings that the Union would take legal action if Dana did not make the Grievants whole for overtime payments they would have received had they remained in the Team Leader positions continuously. USW claims that Dana did not respond to this letter, and it did not fully comply with the Arbitrator Bower's Award. USW filed this lawsuit on April 18, 2017.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Before the Court may grant a motion for summary judgment, it must find that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the initial burden of specifying the basis for its motion and identifying that portion of the record that demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Once the moving party satisfies this burden, the non-moving party thereafter must produce specific facts demonstrating a genuine issue of fact for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).

         Although the Court must review the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, the non-moving party must do more than merely show that there is some “metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Instead, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require the non-moving party to present specific facts showing that a genuine factual issue exists by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record” or by “showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence . . . of a genuine dispute[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). “The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [non-moving party's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [non-moving party].” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Dana moves for summary judgment arguing that the Court lacks jurisdiction to interpret the arbitration award because resolution of the parties' dispute would require the Court to both interpret the award and engage in fact-finding. Dana claims that despite the looming deadline of Arbitrator Bower's 90-day window, neither Mr. Haas nor USW's counsel timely presented the issue to her. (Cummings Decl ¶ 9). Further, Dana argues that USW waited until after the window closed to send the March 16, 2017, demand letter to Dana. Dana maintains that after the case is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, the case can be remanded to the exclusive grievance process under the collective bargaining agreement. In response, USW contends that it is not asking the Court to find facts, but instead to order the parties to confer in good faith and share their respective evidence of what overtime the Grievants would have worked absent the improper demotion. Further, USW argues that in the event the Court sees a need for additional fact-finding, a remand to the arbitrator, rather than outright dismissal of this case, would be appropriate.

         A. The ...


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