Sour Over the Union’s Massive Arbitration Win, Chicago Tribune Attempts to Overturn Arbitration Award

| October 5, 2018

The Chicago Tribune filed a lawsuit last month against Teamsters Local 727 in an attempt to avoid paying nearly 120 Teamster newspaper truck drivers backpay awarded to them by a neutral arbitrator this past July.  Originating from a grievance filed in 2016, this arbitration sought to address the Company’s violation of the “gap pay” requirements of the collective bargaining agreement.

In March 2016, Local 727 learned that the Chicago Tribune intended to cease its long-standing past practice of paying drivers gap pay when a driver is called into work within the ten-hour guaranteed rest period between his shifts.  Local 727 immediately filed a grievance on behalf of all affected members as a result of the Company’s violation of the parties’ collective bargaining agreement.  When the parties were unable to settle the grievance, Local 727 advanced the matter to arbitration.

Arbitrator Amedeo Greco issued a decision on July 25, 2018, finding that the Tribune violated the collective bargaining agreement when it failed to pay drivers gap pay and ordering the Company to “make whole all affected current and past drivers who were deprived of gap pay from March 7, 2016 to the present…”  The award requires the Tribune to pay drivers ten hours of gap pay anytime they are required to work beyond their initial shift and make whole any drivers who were not paid gap pay since March 7, 2016.

Rather than abiding by the final and binding arbitration award, the Chicago Tribune instead filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court requesting that the arbitration award by vacated.  This lawsuit flies in the face of the grievance and arbitration procedure agreed to by both the Chicago Tribune and Local 727.  Complaints to vacate final and binding arbitration awards are routinely denied by federal court judges who grant great deference to arbitration decisions.  Seeking to vacate a binding decision is a further waste of time, money, and good faith.

“The Tribune had an opportunity to present and argue its case during arbitration.  They lost.  It’s time the Company accept the consequences of its actions and honor their agreement to abide by the arbitration award,” asserted John Coli, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of Local 727.  “This Union will not stop fighting until companies like the Chicago Tribune learn they must honor the contracts they’ve signed.”

Members with questions should contact Local 727 Business Representative Melissa Senatore at (847) 696-7500 or [email protected].

Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or additional grievance. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.


Category: Newspaper

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