Southeastern Michigan Transp. Authority v. Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1564, AFL-CIO

Decision Date21 July 1982
Docket NumberD,AFL-CI,Docket No. 56672
Citation114 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2277,321 N.W.2d 876,116 Mich.App. 154
PartiesSOUTHEASTERN MICHIGAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION, LOCAL 1564,efendant-Appellant. 116 Mich.App. 154, 321 N.W.2d 876, 114 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2277
CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan — District of US

[116 MICHAPP 155] Dickinson, Wright, McKean, Cudlip & Moon by Charles F. Clippert, Thomas G. Kienbaum and Theodore R. Opperwall, Detroit, for plaintiff-appellee.

Marston, Sachs, Nunn, Kates, Kadushin & O'Hare, P. C. by Theodore Sachs, I. Mark Steckloff and Laura J. Campbell, Detroit, for defendant-appellant.

Before RILEY, P. J., and HOLBROOK and KELLY, JJ.

PER CURIAM.

Defendant represents a bargaining unit for bus operators employed by plaintiff. Plaintiff filed an action in circuit court to set aside an arbitration award allegedly rendered pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement in effect between plaintiff and defendant. The arbitration award concerned plaintiff's right to discipline and terminate probationary bus operators for absenteeism without answering to defendant union by way of the grievance procedure or arbitration. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment with the circuit court. Argument was heard on the cross-motions on February 4, 1981. The circuit court determined that the arbitrator did not have jurisdiction to render a decision in the dispute and granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. Defendant appeals as of right.

The stimulus for the grievance which led to the instant arbitration was the discharge of nine probationary employees pursuant to a recently adopted accelerated disciplinary policy applied only to probationary employees. The arbitrator [116 MICHAPP 156] ordered these employees reinstated because he concluded that they had been wrongfully discharged.

Defendant contends that, in refusing to enforce the arbitration award, the circuit court improperly reinterpreted the collective bargaining agreement, substituted its judgment for that of the arbitrator and improperly concluded, in direct opposition to the arbitrator, that the grievance was not arbitrable under the provisions of the contract.

Plaintiff argues that the grievance was not arbitrable and that the arbitrator consequently had no jurisdiction to decide the dispute. While the arbitrator decided that the dispute was arbitrable, plaintiff continued to press this issue and has properly preserved it for appellate review. Elkouri & Elkouri, How Arbitration Works (3d ed.), ch. 6, p. 171.

Plaintiff contends that the intentions of the parties could not be more lucidly stated than in the language of Article 6, Section 2, which became part of the contract as the result of negotiations between the parties. Article 6 provides in part:

"Section 1. All new OPERATORS coming within the scope of this Agreement shall be on probation for a period of ninety (90) calendar days from the date they complete their training requirements. Such probationary period shall constitute a trial period during which the AUTHORITY judges the ability, competency, fitness, and other qualifications of new OPERATORS to do the work for which they were employed. Probationary OPERATORS accepted for permanent employment will not have violations accumulated during probationary period used against them in evaluating subsequent performance.

"Section 2. During such probationary period, the AUTHORITY may discharge the OPERATOR at any time and its right to do so shall not be questioned by the [116 MICHAPP 157] UNION; nor shall the UNION assert or present any grievance on behalf of any such new OPERATOR."

The question of arbitrability is for the courts. Kaleva-Norman-Dickson School Dist. No. 6 v. Kaleva-Norman-Dickson Teachers Ass'n, 393 Mich. 583, 587, 227 N.W.2d 500 (1975). The United States Supreme Court in the Steelworkers trilogy, United Steelworkers of America v. American Manufacturing Co., 363 U.S. 564, 80 S.Ct. 1343, 4 L.Ed.2d 1403 (1960); United Steelworkers of America v. Warrior & Gulf Navigation Co., 363 U.S. 574, 80 S.Ct. 1347, 4 L.Ed.2d 1409 (1960); United Steelworkers of America v. Enterprise Wheel & Car Corp....

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3 cases
  • Village of Cairo v. Bodine Contracting Co.
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 29 Enero 1985
    ...Inc. v. Frederick Contractors, Inc., 21 Md.App. 307, 320 A.2d 558, 570 (1974); Southeastern Michigan Transportation Authority v. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1564, 116 Mich.App. 154, 321 N.W.2d 876, 878 [2, 3] (1982); University of Alaska v. v. Modern Construction, Inc., 522 P.2d 1132, 1......
  • Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1564, AFL-CIO v. Southeastern Michigan Transp. Authority
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • 15 Julio 1991
    ...bargaining agreement, we can say with positive assurance that the arbitration clause did not cover this agreement." 116 Mich.App. 154, 158, 321 N.W.2d 876 (1982). The union did not appeal the Court of Appeals With arbitration thus concluded, the MERC proceedings relating to the union's unfa......
  • Northern Michigan Educ. Ass'n v. Board of Educ. of Cheboygan Area Schools
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • 18 Agosto 1983
    ...be decided by reference to the collective bargaining agreement. See Southeastern Michigan Transportation Authority v. Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1564, AFL-CIO, 116 Mich.App. 154, 157-158, 321 N.W.2d 876 (1982). However, it does not follow that the existence of an arbitration agreement......

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