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Durham School Services, L.P. v. General Drivers

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

February 5, 2015

DURHAM SCHOOL SERVICES, L.P., Plaintiff,
v.
GENERAL DRIVERS, WAREHOUSEMEN and HELPERS, LOCAL UNION NO. 509, a/w INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, Defendant

Page 560

For Durham School Services LP, Plaintiff: Cara Y Crotty, LEAD ATTORNEY, Constangy Brooks and Smith, Columbia, SC; Charles P Roberts, III, LEAD ATTORNEY, Constangy Brooks and Smith, Winston-Salem, NC.

For General Drivers Warehousemen and Helpers Local Union No 509, a/w International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Defendant: Jonathan G Axelrod, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Beins Axelrod Gleason and Gibson, Washington, DC; Terry Ann Rickson, LEAD ATTORNEY, Terry Ann Rickson Esquire Inc, Charleston, Sc.

Page 561

ORDER

DAVID C. NORTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This matter is before the court on cross motions for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the court denies defendant's motion for summary judgment and grants plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on liability.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Durham School Services, L.P. (" Durham" ) is a limited partnership engaged in providing bus transportation to students in Charleston County. Def.'s Mot. 1. Durham operates a fleet of over 350 school buses, including 250 state-owned buses and 126 Durham-owned buses. Id. at 5. Defendant General Drivers, Warehouse and Helpers, Local Union No. 509, is an unincorporated labor union affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (the " Union" ) in West Columbia, South Carolina. Id. at 2. In 2007, the Charleston County School District contracted with Durham to provide transportation to public school students in Charleston County. Id. at 1. That year, Durham and the Union entered into a collective bargaining agreement effective from August

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15, 2007 to August 15, 2012 (the " 2007 CBA" ). Def.'s Mot. Ex. 1.

The 2007 CBA defined bargaining unit employees as

[A]ll fulltime and regular part time school bus drivers and aides employed by the Employer at or out of its . . . Charleston, South Carolina area facilities . . . exclud[ing] managers, operations supervisors, clerical, payroll, dispatch, safety coordinator, assistant managers, assist safety, routing supervisor, trainer examiner, mechanics, maintenance employees, and all other employees.

Id. at 2. Under Article 10 of the 2007 CBA, bargaining unit work is defined as " [a]ll bus driving work performed out of Durham's . . . Charleston County locations and all bus driving work performed for the Charleston County Public Schools . . . ." Id. at 9. Bargaining unit employees were paid a Driving Rate for bargaining unit work, which varied based on a driver's experience. Id. at 24. Article 24 of the 2007 CBA prohibits the subcontracting of bargaining unit work, stating that Durham may not " use any third party, leasing program, or any method to deprive its employees of the work that is currently being performed by the bargaining unit with the job classifications covered by this Agreement." Id. at 21. Section 2 of Article 14 allows bargaining unit employees to " have the option to bid a summer school route, charter runs, sub-driver, or any other summer work that may be needed." Id. at 13. Article 11 the 2007 CBA gives Durham the managerial authority to determine the " size of the workforce [and] the allocation and assignment of work." Id. at 10.

Between 2007 and 2012, some Union employees cleaned the inside of buses and repaired seats.[1] Def.'s Mot. 7-8. Under the 2007 CBA, Union employees were paid a " Non-Revenue Rate" of $11.00/hour when they conducted such work outside of their standard work hours or during the summer. Id. at 7, 11. The parties dispute the number of Union employees who cleaned the interior of the buses and repaired seats and the number of hours spent performing such work. However, it is undisputed that prior to entering into the 2012 CBA, Durham used non-bargaining unit employees and some Union employees to perform various " Non-Revenue Rate" duties, including repairing bus seats and cleaning buses.

Union employees expressed dissatisfaction with the Non-Revenue Rate and wanted to be paid their normal Driving Rate for seat repair and bus cleaning work. In 2012, the parties renegotiated the 2007 CBA. Durham agreed to omit the Non-Revenue Rate entirely from the 2012 agreement. Id. at 12. Durham and the Union executed the 2012 CBA in March 2013, and the agreement is effective from August 2012 through August 2017 (the " 2012 CBA" ). Def.'s Mot. Ex. 2 at 22. The 2012 CBA is largely identical to the 2007 CBA except that the Non-Revenue Rate does not appear in the 2012 CBA. See Def.'s Mot. Ex. 1 at 24. Notably, the " bargaining unit" as defined in the 2012 CBA mirrors the definition of the bargaining unit in the 2007 CBA. Def.'s Mot. Ex. 1 at 2; Def.'s Mot. Ex. 2 at 2. The 2012 CBA gives Durham the same managerial authority

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to determine the size of the workforce and manage the allocation and assignment of work. Def.'s Mot. Ex. 2 at 12. Further, the 2012 CBA also contains Articles 10 and 24, which outline the scope of bargaining unit work and prohibit the subcontracting of work currently being performed by the bargaining unit as classified therein. Id. at 9, 20.

Once the 2012 CBA became effective, Durham ceased offering bus cleaning and seat repair job opportunities to Union employees. Def.'s Mot. 12. In May 2013, Durham hired a part-time maintenance worker to perform seat repairs. Id. at 13. Nic Geathers (" Geathers" ) is currently employed by Durham in a non-bargaining unit position to repair seats. Id. In July 2013, Durham hired Randstad Work Solutions (" Randstad" ) to provide temporary employees to clean the bus interiors in addition to Durham non-bargaining unit employees. Id. at 14.

Beginning in June 2013, Local 509 Business Agent Sabrina Isom (" Isom" ) filed numerous grievances regarding both seat repair and bus cleaning work. Isom alleged that Durham violated Articles 10 and 24 of the 2012 CBA by assigning seat repair and bus cleaning work to non-bargaining unit Durham employees and to Randstad. The first grievance filed on June 18, 2013 stated: " On behalf of all drivers to be made whole in every way. Covering of seats is being continuously done by staff." Def.'s Mot. Ex. 33 at 2. Isom filed a second grievance with the same language on July 12, 2013. That same day, Isom also filed a grievance involving bus cleaning that stated: " On behalf of all drivers to be made whole in every way. Cleaning of the school bus is being continuously done by staff." Def.'s Mot. Ex. 35 at 12. Isom filed a second grievance regarding bus cleaning on August 1, 2013 that stated " [t]emp service hired to clean buses." Id. at 14. Isom filed an additional grievance on August 12, 2013 which stated that " bargaining unit work is not being done by bargaining unit." Def.'s Mot. Ex. 34 at 30. Durham Regional Manager David Brabender (" Brabender" ) denied the grievances, stating that " [t]his work does not fall under Article 10." Def.'s Mot. Ex. 33 at 3.

The 2007 and 2012 CBAs provide a grievance procedure by which the Union and Durham may resolve labor disputes. Def.'s Mot. Ex. 2 at 4. If the conflict is not resolved through the grievance process, the grievance may be submitted to the Piedmont Grievance Committee, a dispute resolution body. Id. If the Piedmont Grievance Committee deadlocks, the parties may submit the dispute to an arbitrator selected from a panel provided by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Id.

The parties submitted the grievances to the Piedmont Grievance Committee. Def.'s Mot. 17. The Piedmont Grievance Committee deadlocked on two procedural issues. Id. at 19. Thus, the Piedmont Grievance Committee never addressed the merits of the Union's grievances. Although the 2012 CBA allows the parties to submit their grievances to binding arbitration, Durham and the Union agreed to postpone arbitration pending resolution of the present action. Id. at 20.

On January 7, 2014, Durham filed the present action pursuant to Section 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1959 (" LMRA" ) alleging that the Union violated sections 8(b)(4)(ii)(A) and (B) of the National Labor Relations Act (" NLRA" ). Specifically, Durham alleges that the work sought by the Union in filing and continuing to prosecute the grievances is not bargaining unit work as defined ...


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