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Utility Workers Union of America v. The Dayton Power & Light Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton

February 14, 2018

UTILITY WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA, LOCAL 175, Plaintiff,
v.
THE DAYTON POWER & LIGHT COMPANY, et al., Defendants.

          ENTRY AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT (DOC. 4) AND TERMINATING CASE

          THOMAS M. ROSE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This case is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 4) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction filed by Defendants The Dayton Power & Light Company, DPL, Inc., AES Ohio Generation LLC, and The AES Corporation (collectively “Defendants”). Plaintiff Utility Workers Union of America, Local 175 (“Local 175”) filed a Response in Opposition (Doc. 6) to the Motion to Dismiss, in response to which Defendants filed a Reply. (Doc. 13.) This matter is therefore fully briefed and ripe for review. For the reasons below, the Court GRANTS the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 4).

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Parties

         Defendant Dayton Power & Light (“DP&L”), an Ohio corporation based in Dayton, Ohio, produces and distributes electric energy and provides service to customers in Southwest Ohio. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 4.) Plaintiff Local 175 is the duly recognized and exclusive bargaining agent for DP&L's Power Production, Service Operations and Financial Operations employees. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 3.)

         Defendant AES Ohio Generation LLC (“AES Ohio”) is engaged in the generation of electric power and wholesale power sales from existing generation facilities located in Ohio. (Id. at ¶ 7.) Plaintiff alleges that DP&L and AES Ohio are fully owned by Defendant DPL, Inc. (“DPL”), which is their immediate parent, and are “indirect, wholly owned subsidiaries of Defendant AES Corporation (“AES”). (Id. at ¶¶ 6-7.)

         Plaintiff alleges that DP&L, DPL, AES Ohio and AES Corporation constitute a single employer due to the interrelation of their operations, common management, centralized control of labor relations and common ownership. (Id. at ¶ 8.)

         B. Factual Allegations

         Local 175 and DP&L are parties to a collective bargaining agreement, referred to as the Compact, that covers the terms and conditions of employment of all DP&L employees in the production and distribution of electric energy and in the service of customers. (Id. at ¶ 8.) The Compact's effective date is November 1, 2014 through October 31, 2017. (Id.)

         On August 24, 2017, Local 175 and DP&L held their first bargaining session regarding a new collective bargaining agreement. (Id. at ¶ 14.) At their next bargaining session on September 11, 2017, DP&L informed Local 175 that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had approved the transfer of two generation facilities, named Stuart Station and Killen Station, and their ancillary assets from DP&L to AES Ohio. (Id. at ¶ 15.) Stuart Station and Killen Station together employ more than 290 bargaining unit employees represented by Local 175. (Id. at 13.) AES Ohio thereafter joined in the negotiations between Local 175 and DP&L regarding the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement. (Id. at ¶¶ 16-18.)

         On September 21, 2017, DP&L notified Local 175 that, after the transfer of assets from DP&L to AES Ohio, no Stuart Station and Killen Station employees would be entitled to use their seniority to bump into any position or to exercise “Career Preference” rights to transfer into open positions in DP&L's Service Operations or Financial Operations in Dayton, Ohio. (Id. at ¶ 18.) DP&L took the position that these employees would not be entitled to exercise these rights under the Compact because, after the transfer, they would cease to be DP&L employees. (Id. at ¶ 16.)

         On the same day, Local 175 submitted a written grievance to DP&L and AES Ohio pursuant to the Compact's “Issue Resolution” process. (Id. at ¶ 20.) In the grievance, Local 175 alleges that DP&L's refusal to honor its employees' employment rights and seniority rights violated the Compact. (Id.) The Issue Resolution process normally takes “months to complete” and culminates in the submission of the grievance to a neutral arbitrator for determination. (Id. at ¶ 21.)

         On October 1, 2017, DP&L transferred Stuart Station and Killen Station to AES Ohio. AES Ohio has represented-and the parties do not dispute-that it intends to close Stuart Station and Killen Station effective June 1, 2018.

         C. Plaintiff's Complaint and Motion for ...


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