Gibraltar School Dist. v. Gibraltar MESPA-Transportation, MESPA-TRANSPORTATIO

CourtSupreme Court of Michigan
Writing for the CourtBOYLE; MICHAEL F. CAVANAGH
Citation443 Mich. 326,505 N.W.2d 214
PartiesGIBRALTAR SCHOOL DISTRICT, Respondent-Appellee, v. GIBRALTARichigan Education Association, and Gibraltarustodial and Maintenance, Michigan Education Association, Charging Parties-Appellants. an. Term. Calendar
Decision Date20 August 1993
Docket NumberMESPA-C,No. 7,M,Docket No. 92723,J,MESPA-TRANSPORTATIO

Page 214

505 N.W.2d 214
443 Mich. 326
GIBRALTAR SCHOOL DISTRICT, Respondent-Appellee,
v.
GIBRALTAR MESPA-TRANSPORTATION, Michigan Education
Association, and Gibraltar MESPA-Custodial and
Maintenance, Michigan Education
Association, Charging
Parties-Appellants.
Docket No. 92723, Jan. Term.
Calendar No. 7.
Supreme Court of Michigan.
Argued Jan. 12, 1993.
Decided Aug. 20, 1993.

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[443 Mich. 328] Amberg, McNenly, Zuschlag, Firestone and Lee, P.C., Steven J. Amberg, Joseph H. Firestone, Southfield, for charging parties-appellants.

Jamil Akhtar, Troy, for appellee.

OPINION

BOYLE, Justice.

The question presented is whether an arbitration clause of a collective bargaining agreement survives the expiration date of the collective bargaining agreement which created it. We are persuaded by the strong precedent

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favoring arbitration as being consensual that an agreement to arbitrate does not survive expiration of a collective bargaining contract statutorily as a term or condition of employment under the public employment relations act. The obligation to arbitrate grievances postcontract encompasses grievances involving employee rights that accrue or vest under the contract, or situations in which the parties expressly provided for arbitration beyond the term of the agreement.

We affirm the decision of the Court of Appeals.

I

The Gibraltar school transportation employees, as well as its custodial and maintenance employees, were previously represented in bargaining with the school district by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Each unit's contract contained a four-step grievance procedure with arbitration as the final step to resolve "[a]ny grievance or dispute which may arise between the parties concerning the application, meaning or interpretation" of the agreement. 1[443 Mich. 329] 1] Although each contract contained a broad automatic renewal clause, 2 neither included any specific language providing for survival of arbitration in the event the entire contract expired. The [443 Mich. 330] transportation unit's contract expired on June 30, 1984, and the custodial and maintenance unit's contract terminated on June 30, 1985. Although the record is void of any evidence that the contracts were renewed by virtue of the contracts' automatic renewal provisions, we make the logical inference that they were not, in light of the subsequent election and certification of a new bargaining agent for both labor units. 3

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The Michigan Education Support Personnel Association (MESPA) petitioned the Michigan Employment Relations Commission for recognition as the [443 Mich. 331] exclusive bargaining agent for both labor units. The MESPA prevailed over the AFSCME in an August 26, 1985, consent election and was certified as the sole bargaining representative by the MERC on September 9, 1985. Negotiations for new contracts between the school district and the MESPA began the following day. According to the union's representative, the school district's representative verbally assured them that they would "extend the contracts," despite the fact that both parties acknowledged that the AFSCME contracts had expired and both units were currently working without contracts. 4

On October 18, 1985, the school district offered the MESPA a written contract that included a four-step grievance procedure with arbitration as the final step. The provision was conditioned on the union's agreement to a no-strike clause. At that time, the school district proposed an interim grievance procedure that did not contain arbitration. After the MESPA objected to the interim plan, the school district withdrew its proposal and indicated it would adhere to the grievance procedure established under the expired AFSCME contract, with the exception of arbitration as a final step. The parties continued to negotiate without reaching impasse on any subject of bargaining. Ultimately, agreements[443 Mich. 332] for both units were reached and the contracts ratified by the Gibraltar School Board on October 14, 1986.

Meanwhile, the MESPA filed several grievances with the school district during the period between October 24, 1985, and February 3, 1986. Citing the provisions of the expired AFSCME contract, the grievances alleged violations concerning bus run assignments, payment for runs, working hours, payment for layover time, schedule changes, outside employees performing bargaining unit work, and the assignment of a bargaining unit position. Unable to achieve resolution after processing the grievances through the initial three steps of the AFSCME procedure, the union filed a demand for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association, claiming a right to arbitration, pursuant to the expired AFSCME contract. 5 The school district refused the demands for arbitration, stating that no current labor contract existed between the parties granting the association or any third party the authority to process such demands. It also complained that the written arbitration provisions attached to the union's arbitration demands were excerpts from the expired AFSCME contract to which

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the MESPA was not a party. Arbitration of the grievances was stayed pending resolution of the issue of the right to arbitration itself.

On February 20 and May 13, 1986, the MESPA filed unfair labor practice charges against the school district pursuant to § 10 of the public employment relations act, 1965 P.A. 379, as amended, [443 Mich. 333] M.C.L. § 423.210; M.S.A. § 17.455(10). Specifically, the union claimed that the parties, by agreement, had been working under the last "mutually agreed to collective bargaining agreement, dated February 9, 1982, while the parties engage in negotiations for a successor agreement." The MESPA charged that the school district's refusal to arbitrate grievances were unilateral actions "without notice and were effectuated in contravention of its statutory duty under the PERA to bargain in good faith with Charging Party with respect to wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment and constitute[d] a continuing effort by [the Gibraltar School District] to undermine the status of [the MESPA] as bargaining representative for the employees represented by [the MESPA]."

The charges were consolidated and a hearing conducted before a hearing referee who found that the MESPA had no standing to file the charges. He rejected the MESPA's theory that the employer repudiated its contractual obligation to arbitrate, because, by its own terms, the contract had expired before the union was certified as the employees' bargaining representative. Finding no present or past contractual obligation to be owed by the school district to arbitrate the grievances at issue, the hearing referee dismissed the charges. The MERC upheld the hearing referee's findings and dismissal order.

The MESPA appealed as of right in the Court of Appeals, which affirmed in an unpublished per curiam opinion, decided October 17, 1991 (Docket No. 116964). The Court found that the expired agreements were never formally extended by the parties and that the school district had no contractual obligation with the newly certified union to submit the grievances to arbitration.

We granted leave to appeal. 440 Mich. 889, 487 N.W.2d 759 (1992).

443 Mich. 334] II
A

Before turning to the central issue in this case, we deal briefly with the contention that the MESPA lacked standing to enforce the arbitration provisions of the expired contract. We conclude that such a contention is inappropriate for the issue of the statutory obligation to arbitrate. In this context, "standing" refers to the authority of a newly certified union to litigate rights originally acquired by the predecessor union, usually under a collective bargaining agreement or because of actions or omissions relating to the predecessor union's status as collective bargaining representative of the unit. In this case, the charging parties were certified after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreements. During this period, the terms and conditions of employment are continued because of the statutory obligation to bargain, Detroit Police Officers Ass'n v. Detroit, 391 Mich. 44, 54-55, 214 N.W.2d 803 (1974). Grievances that arise after certification of the new union depend on the statutory obligation, not the expired collective bargaining agreement. Any question concerning the authority of the newly certified union to enforce rights granted by the expired agreement is irrelevant. Thus, we reject the claim that the MESPA does not have standing to claim a statutory violation and file an unfair labor practice charge.

B

The central question posed is the extent to which an arbitration clause of a collective bargaining agreement survives the expiration date of a collective bargaining agreement. This issue was recently addressed by the United States Supreme Court in the context of private sector disputes [443 Mich. 335] under the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 151 et seq.; Litton Financial Printing Div. v. NLRB, 501 U.S. ----, 111 S.Ct. 2215, 115 L.Ed.2d 177 (1991). We have long recognized that Michigan's public employment relations act, M.C.L. § 423.201 et seq.; M.S.A. § 17.455(1) et seq., is modeled on the NLRA. Although not controlling, we look to federal precedents developed under the NLRA for

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guidance in our interpretation of the PERA, Central Michigan Univ. Faculty Ass'n v. Central Michigan Univ., 404 Mich. 268, 273 N.W.2d 21 (1978); Pontiac Police Officers Ass'n v. Pontiac (After Remand), 397 Mich. 674, 246 N.W.2d 831 (1976); Detroit Police Officers Ass'n v. Detroit, supra 391 Mich. at 53, 214 N.W.2d 803. Thus, Litton is an appropriate place to begin our inquiry.

In Litton, the expired collective bargaining agreement contained a two-step grievance procedure with arbitration as the final step. During the hiatus between contracts, and without consulting...

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17 practice notes
  • Kendzierski v. Macomb Cnty., Docket No. 156086
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • May 30, 2019
    ...a final phrase to every term in the CBA: ‘until this agreement ends.’ " Id. See also Gibraltar Sch. Dist. v. Gibraltar MESPA-Transp. , 443 Mich. 326, 328, 505 N.W.2d 214 (1993) ("[A]n agreement to arbitrate does not survive expiration of a collective bargaining contract ...."); Ottawa Co. v......
  • St. Clair Intermediate School Dist.t v. Intermediate Educ. Association/Michigan Educ. Ass'n, Docket Nos. 107479
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • July 31, 1998
    ...in interpreting the PERA. Goolsby v. Detroit, 419 Mich. 651, 660, n. 5, 358 N.W.2d 856 (1984); Gibraltar School Dist. v. Gibraltar MESPA, 443 Mich. 326, 335, 505 N.W.2d 214 (1993). Accordingly, although we have not previously determined the meaning of the word agent as used in this context.......
  • Grandville Mun. Executive Ass'n v. City of Grandville, Docket No. 103589
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • October 14, 1996
    ...Court extends similar consideration to the MERC's interpretation of the PERA. Gibraltar School Dist v. Gibraltar MESPA-Transportation, 443 Mich. 326, 337, 505 N.W.2d 214 (1993). Concerning the MERC's authority under § 13 of the PERA to determine an appropriate collective bargaining unit, th......
  • Bailey v. Callaghan, Case No. 12–CV–11504.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • June 11, 2012
    ...interpretation of analogous provisions of the NLRA by the federal courts”); Gibraltar School District v. Gibraltar MESPA–Transportation, 443 Mich. 326, 335, 505 N.W.2d 214 (1993) (“We have long recognized that Michigan's public employment relations act is modeled on the NLRA. Although not c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Kendzierski v. Macomb Cnty., Docket No. 156086
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • May 30, 2019
    ...a final phrase to every term in the CBA: ‘until this agreement ends.’ " Id. See also Gibraltar Sch. Dist. v. Gibraltar MESPA-Transp. , 443 Mich. 326, 328, 505 N.W.2d 214 (1993) ("[A]n agreement to arbitrate does not survive expiration of a collective bargaining contract ...."); Ottawa Co. v......
  • St. Clair Intermediate School Dist.t v. Intermediate Educ. Association/Michigan Educ. Ass'n, Docket Nos. 107479
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • July 31, 1998
    ...in interpreting the PERA. Goolsby v. Detroit, 419 Mich. 651, 660, n. 5, 358 N.W.2d 856 (1984); Gibraltar School Dist. v. Gibraltar MESPA, 443 Mich. 326, 335, 505 N.W.2d 214 (1993). Accordingly, although we have not previously determined the meaning of the word agent as used in this context.......
  • Grandville Mun. Executive Ass'n v. City of Grandville, Docket No. 103589
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • October 14, 1996
    ...Court extends similar consideration to the MERC's interpretation of the PERA. Gibraltar School Dist v. Gibraltar MESPA-Transportation, 443 Mich. 326, 337, 505 N.W.2d 214 (1993). Concerning the MERC's authority under § 13 of the PERA to determine an appropriate collective bargaining unit, th......
  • Bailey v. Callaghan, Case No. 12–CV–11504.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • June 11, 2012
    ...interpretation of analogous provisions of the NLRA by the federal courts”); Gibraltar School District v. Gibraltar MESPA–Transportation, 443 Mich. 326, 335, 505 N.W.2d 214 (1993) (“We have long recognized that Michigan's public employment relations act is modeled on the NLRA. Although not c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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