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General Drivers & Helpers Union, Local No. 554 v. Cnty. of Douglas

Supreme Court of Nebraska

June 19, 2015

GENERAL DRIVERS & HELPERS UNION, LOCAL NO. 554, APPELLANT,
v.
COUNTY OF DOUGLAS, NEBRASKA, AND TOM DOYLE, DOUGLAS COUNTY ENGINEER, APPELLEES

Page 662

Appeal from the District Court for Douglas County: W. RUSSELL BOWIE III, Judge.

M.H. Weinberg, of Weinberg & Weinberg, P.C., for appellant.

Donald W. Kleine, Douglas County Attorney, Timothy K. Dolan, and Meghan M. Bothe for appellees.

HEAVICAN, C.J., CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, MCCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ. WRIGHT, J., participating on briefs.

OPINION

Page 663

[291 Neb. 174] McCormack, J.

NATURE OF CASE

This case involves a dispute between Douglas County, Nebraska (the County), and General Drivers & Helpers Union, Local No. 554 (the Union), regarding the construction of its collective bargaining agreement (the CBA). The issue to be determined is whether the word " start" in the CBA means the starting wage for all employees in a certain classification or whether only the " start" of the pay scale from which employees may be hired at different wages. The Union appeals the declaratory judgment that " start" is unambiguous and is the minimum wage or " start" of a pay scale.

BACKGROUND

The Union, the Douglas County engineer, and the County are parties to a CBA effective from January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2013. The CBA controls the terms and conditions of employment for mechanics employed by the County. Article 1, section 1, of the CBA states that the County " recognizes the Union as the sole and exclusive collective bargaining representative for the purposes of establishing wages, hours and other conditions of employment for all regular full time and regular part time employees."

A management rights clause states:

Except where limited by express provisions of [the CBA], nothing herein shall be construed or interpreted to restrict, limit or impair the rights, powers and authority of the [County] heretofore possessed and hereafter granted by virtue of law, regulations or resolution. These rights, powers and authority include, but are not limited to, the right to manage and supervise all of its operations [291 Neb. 175] and establish work rules, regulations and other terms and conditions of employment not inconsistent with the specific terms of [the CBA].

Article 7 of the CBA discusses the seniority system. Article 7, section 6, states: " New employees ...


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