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Teamsters Local Union No.177 v. United Parcel Services

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

August 22, 2019




         Before the Court is the motion (DE 2) of Teamsters Local Union No. 177 (the "Union") for an order confirming the Arbitration Award dated January 21, 2018, pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C.§§ 1-14, (''FAA") and Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185 ("Section 301"). Also before the Court is the motion (DE 11) of United Parcel Services ("UPS") to dismiss the Union's petition pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and (6).

         UPS states that there is no justiciable controversy; it is abiding by the arbitrator's ruling and intends to go on doing so. The Union replies that caution requires it to confirm the award within the one-year deadline to do so, lest the Union change its mind and violate the award later. Here as elsewhere, labor law provides a highly specialized context and a unique set of policy concerns, discussed herein. I have followed what appears to be the most applicable appellate authority, and, for the reasons set forth below, I will deny the Union's motion and grant UPS's motion to dismiss. I do so, however, with the understanding that the Union here enjoys the benefit of a six-year statute of limitations under Section 301.

         I. Summary

         a. Facts

         The Union and UPS are parties to a Collective Bargaining Agreement, comprised of two separate agreements: the National Master Agreement between UPS and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("Teamsters"), and a Supplemental Agreement between UPS and Local 177, i.e., the Union. (Declaration of Steven Radigan, DE 11-2; Declaration of Edward H. O'Hare, DE 1-1). The arbitration award in this matter is dated January 21, 2018. (Id.). In the arbitration award, the arbitrator, Melissa H. Biren, determined that "[t]he grievance is sustained. UPS shall cease and desist assigning package car drivers to work in buildings outside the area designated in Article 46, Section 3 of the parties' [Collective Bargaining] Agreement." (Id.; see also Opinion and Award, Exhibit B, DE 1 pp. 36-43).

         UPS asserts that it accepts the award and in no way seeks to vacate or challenge it. (Declaration of Steven Radigan, DE 11-2). UPS's actions in this matter do not contradict that contention.

         The Union refers to several grievances filed since the CBA was entered. (Declaration of Christopher Eltzholtz, DE 13-1). However, those grievances were considered by the arbitrator, Melissa H. Biren, and were resolved in the Union's favor. (Id. ¶¶ 4-5). Later, the Union accused UPS of violating the arbitrator's award. (Id. ¶¶ 7-8). The Union and UPS then settled those claims with a monetary settlement. (Id.).

         The Union does not claim that UPS is in violation of the arbitrator's ruling at this time. Rather, the Union seeks confirmation of the arbitration award so that, in the future, the Union will "not be required to continually monitor, grieve and/or re-litigate a settled dispute." (Declaration of Christopher Eltzholtz, DE 13-1 ¶ 8).

         UPS asserts that its Labor Relations Manager, Steven Radigan, "contacted Union Secretary-Treasurer Chris Eltzholtz to ask why the Union filed the instant Petition. Eltzholtz stated that the Union is attempting to position itself to penalize UPS in the event the Union perceives violations of the Award in the future. He also stated that the Union may try this tactic with other awards, and that he has to protect this Local from the Company." (Declaration of Steven Radigan, DE 11-2). In his own affidavit, Christopher Eltzholtz asserts that "Local 177 is not attempting to 'position itself to penalize UPS.' Instead, given the aforesaid history, Local 177 has no confidence UPS will abide by the award. As I understand it, an arbitration award must be confirmed in as little as one year from its issuance." (Declaration of Christopher Eltzholtz, DE 13-1).

         b. Procedural History

         On January 18, 2019, the Union filed a petition to confirm an arbitration award. (DE 1). On that same day, the Union moved to confirm the arbitration award. (DE 2). It asserted that "[a] brief is unnecessary in light of the simple facts of this case and the clear authority of this Court to confirm arbitration awards." (DE 1 ¶ 5).

         On February 19, 2019, UPS filed an opposition to the verified petition and a cross-motion to dismiss the verified petition with prejudice. (DE 11).

         On March 1, 2019, the Union filed a reply brief in support of its motion to confirm the arbitration award. (DE 13).

         On March 5, 2019, I granted UPS permission to file a short surreply (DE 15), and on March 7, 2019, it did so. (DE 16).

         II. Discussion

         a. Legal standards

         i. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1)

The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction rests with the party asserting its existence, [citing DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U.S. 332, 342 n. 3, 126 S.Ct. 1854, 164 L.Ed.2d 589 (2006).] "Challenges to subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) may be facial or factual." [citing Common Cause of Pa. v. Pennsylvania, 558 F.3d 249, 257 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Taliaferro v. Darby Twp. Zoning Bd., 458 F.3d 181, 188 (3d Cir. 2006)).] A facial attack "concerns 'an alleged pleading deficiency' whereas a factual attack concerns 'the actual failure of [a plaintiffs] claims to comport [factually] with the jurisdictional prerequisites''' [citing CNA v. United States, 535 F.3d 132, 139 (3d Cir. 2008) (alterations in original) (quoting United States ex rel. Atkinson v. Pa. Shipbuilding Co., 473 F.3d 506, 514 (3d Cir.2007)).]
"In reviewing a facial attack, the court must only consider the allegations of the complaint and documents referenced therein and attached thereto, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." [citing Gould Elecs. Inc. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 176 (3d Cir. 2000).] By contrast, in reviewing a factual attack, "the court must permit the plaintiff to respond with rebuttal evidence in support of jurisdiction, and the court then decides the jurisdictional issue by weighing the evidence. If there is a dispute of a material fact, the court must conduct a plenary hearing on the contested issues prior to determining jurisdiction." [citing McCann v. Newman Irrevocable Trust, 458 F.3d 281, 290 (3d Cir. 2006) (citations omitted).]

Lincoln Ben. Life Co. v. AEI Life, LLC,800 F.3d 99, 105 (3d Cir. 2015) (footnotes omitted; case citations in ...

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