Csx Transp. Inc. v. Transp.-Communs. Intern. Union

Decision Date06 February 2006
Docket NumberNo. CIV.A. DKC 2005-0419.,CIV.A. DKC 2005-0419.
Citation413 F.Supp.2d 553
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Maryland

Helene Victoria Hedian, Abato Rubenstein and Abato PA, Keith J. Zimmerman, Linda D. McKeegan, Kahn Smith and Collins PA, Melissa Menkel Shorey, Whiteford Taylor and Preston LLP, Baltimore, MD, John A. Edmond, Guerrieri Edmond Clayman and Bartos PC, Washington, DC, Mitchell M. Kraus, Transportation Communications International Union, Rockville MD, Soye Kim, Guerrieri Edmond Clayman and Bartos PC, Washington, DC, Daniel Robert Elliott, III, United Transportation Union, Cleveland, for Transportation-Communications International Union, et al.,


CHASANOW, District Judge.

Presently pending and ready for resolution in these consolidated labor dispute cases are: (a) the motions of United Transportation Union ("UTU") for summary judgment (paper 24) and for leave to file an attachment to its summary judgment motion (paper 30); (b) the motions of Transportation-Communications International Union ("TCU") for summary judgment (papers 26, 45); and (c) the motions of CSX Transportation, Inc. ("CSXT") for summary judgment (papers 27, 44).1 The issues are fully briefed and the court now rules pursuant to Local Rule 105.6, no hearing being deemed necessary. For the reasons that follow, the court will grant TCU's motions for summary judgment; deny UTU and CSXT's motions for summary judgment; and deny, as moot, UTU's motion for leave to file an attachment.

I. Background
A. Facts and Legal Framework

The facts underlying this case have a long and somewhat complicated history. The Interstate Commerce Commission ("ICC"), now the Surface Transportation Board ("STB"), has exclusive jurisdiction under the Interstate Commerce Act ("ICA") to approve consolidation or merger of rail carriers.2 49 U.S.C. §§ 11321-27. In 1980, CSX Corporation, acting in accordance with the ICA, sought ICC approval to acquire common control over the railroad subsidiaries of the Chessie System, Inc. (including the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company ("B & O")), and Seaboard Coast Line Industries, Inc. (including the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company ("L & N") and the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Company ("SCL")). The ICC approved the acquisition, subject to the New York Dock labor protective provisions ("New York Dock provisions"), which provide protections to employees who are adversely impacted by operational changes following approved consolidations.3 The combined rail systems were renamed CSX Transportation, Inc. ("CSXT").

In the years following the acquisition, CSXT implemented numerous operational changes in order to capitalize on its resources and enhance its efficiency. In 1990, CSXT initiated the consolidation of clerical functions performed throughout the CSXT system to one location in Jacksonville, Florida. The New York Dock provisions require a railroad "contemplating a transaction which is subject to these conditions and may cause the dismissal or displacement of any employees or the rearrangement of forces" to provide advance written notice to all interested employees and their representatives. Accordingly, on October 25, 1990, CSXT served a New York Dock notice on TCU, which represents clerks for purposes of collective bargaining. The notice informed TCU of CSXT's intent to transfer functions performed by clerical employees at numerous "Transportation Service Centers" to a centralized Customer Service Center ("CSC") to be located in Jacksonville, Florida.

On January 29, 1991, CSXT and TCU entered into an Implementing Agreement regarding the proposed clerical function transfer, as required under the New York Dock provisions. (Joint Exhibit ("JE") 10).4 The Implementing Agreement first addressed the "transfer and consolidation of work," and indicated that "clerical and related functions" performed by employees at the various Service Centers would be transferred to Jacksonville.5 The Implementing Agreement also provided detailed information about how positions would be filled at the CSC, including how seniority rights would be exercised and preserved, and time frames for employee transfers. The Implementing Agreement stipulated that "the employee protective benefits and conditions contained in the so-called `New York Dock' will be applied to this transaction" and provided specific time frames for employees to elect between acceptance of the New York Dock protective benefits and the "protective benefits" under "other protective agreements or arrangements." The Implementing Agreement also noted that work remaining at the Service Centers and work transferred to the CSC would continue to be performed under the respective general collective bargaining agreements ("CBAs") already in place at those locations. Although the CSC was a new center, there was a CBA already in place for clerks in Jacksonville—the "TCU-SCL" agreement. This agreement was to apply to the new customer service representative positions.

Following the Jacksonville consolidation, numerous disagreements arose regarding work assignments. TCU asserted that computer tasks that properly belonged to customer service representatives at the CSC were being performed by various employees at the Service Centers, including Yardmasters represented by the United Transportation Union ("UTU"), and other clerks or CSXT supervisory employees not covered by the TCU-SCL agreement. TCU maintained that this violated the TCU-SCL agreement, which contained a scope provision defining the type of employee and the work the agreement would cover, and provided that work covered by the agreement "shall not be removed from such coverage except by agreement between the General Chairman and the Director of Labor Relations." (JE 11, TCU-SCL agreement; JE 12, 1981 Amendments to TCU-SCL agreement).

1. The 1994 Agreement

As a result of what TCU perceived to be violations of the TCU-SCL agreement, TCU filed numerous claims pursuant to the grievance procedures in the TCU-SCL agreement. CSXT maintained that the functions in question were "shared" functions and not exclusively within the scope of the TCU-SCL agreement. In an attempt to settle the disputes, TCU and CSXT entered into an agreement on December 1, 1994. The 1994 Agreement resolved the disputes at all but three locations. At the three locations where the parties were unable to reach agreement, the 1994 Agreement stipulated that the parties would submit the outstanding disputes to binding arbitration.

2. The 1997 Dennis Arbitrations

In order to resolve the outstanding disputes, CSXT and TCU established Public Law Board No. 5782. Public Law Boards are a voluntary alternative forum for arbitrating disputes otherwise referable to the National Railroad Adjustment Board ("NRAB"). 45 U.S.C. § 153 Second; Employees Protective Ass'n v. Norfolk & W Ry., 511 F.2d 1040, 1044 (4th Cir.1975). The arbitration awards are final and binding on the parties. 45 U.S.C. § 153 Second. On February 14, 1997, Arbitrator Rodney E. Dennis issued five separate awards, each of which sustained TCU's position that the TCU-SCL Agreement had been violated.6 (JE 6, TCU ex. 22, at 40-51). CSXT did not challenge the Dennis awards.7

3. The Benn Arbitrations

Following the Dennis awards, CSXT and TCU continued to have disagreements pertaining to computer tasks performed by various employees in the field instead of by customer service representatives at the CSC. TCU continued to file claims pursuant to the TCU-SCL grievance procedures but the claims were not resolved through this process. CSXT combined multiple TCU claims into fifty-seven cases and filed them with the NRAB Third Division, which has jurisdiction over certain collective bargaining disputes.8 On December 16, 2003, three members (carrier representative Mike Lesnik, union representative William Miller, and neutral Edwin Benn) heard oral argument on ten of the fifty-seven cases.9 Both CSXT and TCU filed written submissions and presented oral arguments at the hearings. Because several of the claims involved UTU-represented yardmasters performing tasks TCU argued exclusively belonged to customer service representatives at the CSC, UTU was considered an interested party and was given notice of the proceeding and an opportunity to submit its position in writing, and to present argument at the arbitration hearings.

In July 2004, Mr. Benn sent his proposed awards to both Mr. Lesnik and Mr. Miller. Mr. Lesnik sent an e-mail to Mr. Miller and Mr. Benn, requesting a meeting to discuss the cases. UTU representative J.R. Cumby was copied on this communication. In response, Mr. Cumby sent an e-mail requesting he be kept informed of the meeting date so that he could stay involved. A meeting was scheduled for September 24, 2004, and, per Mr. Cumby's request, he was informed of the meeting date, but was not personally invited to attend. UTU maintains that after being informed of the meeting date, Mr. Cumby called Mr. Lesnik and NRAB Vice Chairperson Marty Fingerhut to inquire as to whether he could attend the meeting. UTU states that both Mr. Lesnik and Mr. Fingerhut denied his request, to which Mr. Cumby "strongly objected." A meeting was held on September 24, 2004, in which Mr. Benn, Mr. Lesnik, and Mr. Miller discussed the proposed awards. The awards were formally adopted by the NRAB on October 27, 2004.10 In eight out of the ten cases, the NRAB sustained TCU's claims and issued corresponding awards in TCU's favor.

CSXT maintains that after the Benn awards were issued, and, given the "mounting number of claims being pursued by TCU," it decided to "reexamine" the...

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