United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION NO. 1199, Plaintiff,
COCA-COLA CONSOLIDATED, INC., Defendant.
Chelsey M. Vascura Magistrate Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER
A. Sargus, Jr. United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs, Teamsters Local
Union No. 1199 ("Plaintiff"), Petition to Compel
Arbitration (ECF No. 19) and Defendant's Coca-Cola
Consolidated Incorporated ("Defendant"), Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiffs Complaint (ECF No. 16) and Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiffs Amended Complaint (ECF No. 22). For the
reasons stated herein, Plaintiffs Petition to Compel
Arbitration (ECF No. 19) is GRANTED,
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs Complaint is
DENIED as MOOT, and Defendant's Motion
to Dismiss Plaintiffs Amended Complaint (ECF No. 22) is
DENIED. The action is
is the duly recognized and exclusive bargaining agent for
certain employees of Defendant. (Am. Compl. ¶ 1, ECF No.
19.) Since 2016, Defendant has been engaged in the bottling
and distributing of soft drinks and other non-alcoholic
beverages in a facility located at 5100 Duck Creek Road,
Cincinnati, Ohio (the "Duck Creek Facility").
(Id. at ¶ 2.) The Duck Creek Facility, until
recently, has housed both production and a warehouse.
(Id. at ¶ 10.)
was previously known as Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc., and
Coca-Cola Enterprises. (Id. at ¶ 8.) Prior to
Defendant operating out of the Duck Creek Facility, a series
of other companies licensed by Coca-Cola to distribute their
products ran the Duck Creek Facility. These other companies
also operated out of different facilities. (Id.)
Plaintiff, or a predecessor union, has been the duly
authorized bargaining representative for production in the
Duck Creek Facility, and the preceding facilities, since at
least 1965. (Id.)
times relevant to this action Plaintiff and Defendant were
parties to a collective bargaining agreement
("CBA") effective from June 1, 2017 to May 31,
2121. (Id. ¶ 6.) In the past, each time anew
company took over operating the Duck Creek Facility the
employees Plaintiff represents became employees of the new
entity. (Id. at ¶ 9.) The same occurred in the
preceding facilities. (Id.) Further, at each
transition, the CBA was adopted by the new operator.
includes provisions for wages, benefits, bidding on jobs
based on seniority, changing positions, grievances and more.
(Id. at ¶ 7.) The CBA also contains a
"recognition clause" which states "[t]he
Company recognizes the Union as its employees' sole
collective bargaining unit agent with respect to the hours of
work, wages, and other conditions of employment for all
employees employed at its 5100 Duck Creek Road Location
..." (Compl., Ex. A at 2, ECF 1-3, hereinafter
"CBA".) This clause has been amended overtime to
cover the work and employees at the location the licensed
bottler was operating at the time. (Am. Compl. at ¶ 11.)
The Duck Creek Facility has been the only location where the
employer has conducted any warehouse operations since at
least 1991. (Id.) The CBA recognition clause has,
thus, referred only to Duck Creek Road since that time.
also contains an article titled "Grievance and
Arbitration Procedure." (CBA at 6-7.) This article
explains that the grievance process begins by filing a
grievance with the department manager and culminates in
arbitration. (Id.) A grievance is defined as "a
dispute between the Company and an employee or employees
concerning the interpretation or application of [the CBA]
arising from an alleged violation of the terms of this
agreement." (Id. at 6.)
of 2018, Defendant announced to its employees that it planned
to relocate the warehouse operations from the Duck Creek
Facility to Erlanger, Kentucky (the "Erlanger
Facility.") (Id. at ¶ 13.) The Erlanger
Facility is approximately sixteen miles south of the Duck
Creek Facility. (Id.) Defendant stated that the
production operations would remain at the Duck Creek
Facility. (Id.) On July 26, 2019, Defendant told
Plaintiffs representatives that at the Erlanger Facility: it
did not consider the CBA to apply, the employees had no
contractual right to bid for jobs, the wages would be lower,
insurance would be offered at a higher cost with lower
benefits, and other changes would occur. (Id. at
filed grievances with the department manager on July 24 and
25, 2019, on behalf of its bargaining members, protesting
Defendant's refusal to apply the CBA to the Erlanger
Facility. (Id. at ¶ 20.) Defendant denied the
grievances. (Id. at ¶ 22.) Plaintiff sent
notices under the CBA to move the grievances to arbitration.
(Id. at ¶ 20.) The parties received a list of
arbitrators, but Defendant unequivocally refused to arbitrate
the grievances maintaining they were not arbitrable.
(Id. a ¶ 22.)
September 3, 2019, Plaintiff filed for emergency injunctive
relief asking the Court to require Defendant to recognize the
CBA at the Erlanger Facility or delay the move to the
Erlanger Facility until the grievances could be arbitrated.
(ECF No. 2.) On September 24, 2019, the Court denied the
injunctive relief (ECF No. 14). Defendant moved its warehouse
operations to the Erlanger Facility on September 30, 2019.
(Id. at ¶ 26.)
October 3, 2019, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss or in
the alternative a Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs
request for injunctive relief. (Def s Mot. Dismiss Pl.'s
Compl. or Alternative Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 16.) On November
6, 2019, Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the claim for