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Maintenance v. Greater Metropolitan Automobile Dealers Association of Minnesota, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 26, 2014

Garage Maintenance, Machine Warehousemen, Repairmen, Inside Men and Helpers and Plastic Employees, Local No. 974, affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
Greater Metropolitan Automobile Dealers Association of Minnesota, Inc., doing business as Minneapolis Automobile Dealers Association (MADA); Golden Valley Motors, Inc; Luther Automotive Group, Inc.; Motors Management, Inc.; the Luther Company Limited Partnership, doing business as Rudy Luther Toyota/Scion, Defendants - Appellees

Submitted December 17, 2013

Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis.

For Garage Maintenance, Machine Warehousemen, Repairmen, Inside Men and Helpers and Plastic Employees, Local No. 974, affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Plaintiff - Appellant: James Theodore Hansing, Minneapolis, MN; Fred R. Jacobberger, Jacobberger & Micallef, Bloomington, MN.

For Greater Metropolitan Automobile Dealers Association of Minnesota, Inc., doing business as: Minneapolis Automobile Dealers Association (MADA), Golden Valley Motors, Inc, Luther Automotive Group, Inc., Motors Management, Inc., The Luther Company Limited Partnership, doing business as: Rudy Luther Toyota/Scion, Defendants - Appellees: Daniel Robert Kelly, Jessica Molyneaux Marsh, Felhaber & Larson, Minneapolis, MN.

Before WOLLMAN, LOKEN, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 528

KELLY, Circuit Judge.

Local No. 974 (" Union" ) seeks to set aside an arbitration award that ruled in favor of the Minneapolis Automobile Dealers Association (" MADA" ) and several member car dealerships. Finding no grounds to vacate the award, the district court[1] granted the defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). With jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm.

I. Background

The Union and MADA have negotiated a series of collective bargaining agreements (" CBAs" ) memorializing the terms of their relationship. Each one typically ends immediately before the next begins. At issue here is the transition between the 2006 CBA and the 2010 CBA and its impact on above-scale time allowances. Since the introduction of the Toyota Prius in 2001, Union technicians working on hybrid cars at Rudy Luther Toyota (" Luther Toyota" ) have received incentive pay, as such work was especially difficult and dangerous. One hour spent working on hybrid cars was factored into their week's productivity as one and a half to two hours, depending on the particular task. This differential is known as an above-scale time allowance, an accounting method that individual MADA member dealerships have used to compensate Union technicians for various types of work since the 1970s. Luther Toyota was the only MADA member to provide such time allowances for hybrid car warranty and recall work, and it introduced the allowances unilaterally--without negotiation with the Union.

In negotiating the 2006 CBA--which would be effective from April 16, 2006, through April 15, 2009--MADA wanted to eliminate all above-scale time allowances. The Union rejected the proposal but accepted a compromise: MADA member dealers could reduce higher time allowances for new employees hired on or after April 16, 2006. The 2006 CBA was initially

Page 529

extended by mutual agreement through April 15, 2010, and then--so as not to chance a strike on a Friday, which would disappoint customers--through April 17, 2010. Union and MADA representatives met on April 13, 2010, to conclude negotiation of the 2010 CBA and produced a " Tentative Contract Agreement." Copies of the Agreement were distributed to Union members on April 15; the members' ballots were counted on April 16, and the Agreement was overwhelmingly approved.

On April 15, Luther Toyota delivered to Union representatives a letter stating: " Please be advised that as of April 15, 2010 Rudy Luther Toyota will no longer pay any above scale wage rate or time allowance on Hybrid vehicles." On April 29, the Union filed a grievance against MADA, challenging Luther Toyota's letter as an unlawful breach of contract or failure to bargain under ยง 8(a)(5) of the National Labor Relations Act. After the grievance went to arbitration and the arbitrator ruled in favor of MADA, the Union sought to ...


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