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Bakery Confectionery Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union v. Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. New York

December 4, 2014

BAKERY CONFECTIONERY TOBACCO WORKERS AND GRAIN MILLERS INTERNATIONAL UNION, LOCAL 116, AFL-CIO, CLC, Plaintiff,
v.
WEGMANS FOOD MARKETS, INC., Defendant

For Bakery Confectionery Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, Local 116, AFL-CIO, CLC, Plaintiff: Brian Joseph LaClair, LEAD ATTORNEY, Blitman & King LLP, Syracuse, NY; Jules L. Smith, LEAD ATTORNEY, Blitman & King, Rochester, NY.

For Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., Defendant: Stephanie M. Caffera, LEAD ATTORNEY, Nixon Peabody LLP, Rochester, NY.

Page 334

DECISION AND ORDER

DAVID G. LARIMER, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff, Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, Local 116, AFL-CIO, CLC (the " Union" ) brings this action under Section 301 (a) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a) (" LMRA" ) against Wegmans Food Markets (" Wegmans" ). The Union seeks to compel arbitration against Wegmans pursuant to the terms of a collective bargaining agreement that was in effect between Wegmans and Union from June 1, 2013 through March 31, 2015 (the " CBA" ). Wegmans now moves for summary judgment dismissing the action (Dkt. #10) and the Union cross moves for summary judgment (Dkt. #14) compelling arbitration. For the reasons that follow, Wegmans' motion is granted, the Union's motion is denied, and the complaint is dismissed.

FACTS

The Union provides representation to certain Wegmans employees employed in Wegmans Bake Shop, including former Wegmans employee Derrick McCullough (" McCullough" ), on behalf of whom the Union now seeks to compel arbitration of a grievance.

The CBA contains a grievance and arbitration procedure that specifically excludes from arbitration a number of categories of disciplinary action taken against members of the Union's bargaining unit. As relevant here, Article 23 of the CBA provides that:

Violations of any of the following Company work rules are not in any way subject to arbitration, as the Company's decision is final: (1) All forms of theft. This means in all cases whether the employee is on or off duty. This also means theft at any Company location, whether the employee works there or not...

(Dkt. #10-3., Exh. C at 12).

On June 12, 2013, Wegmans employee LaVerne Worth (" Worth" ) reported that a key, belonging to Wegmans and used to operate a floor sweeping machine, and the attached key ring, which belonged to her and was of great sentimental value to her, had been taken from the floor machine she was using while she was distracted with another task. Worth was unable to locate them upon returning to the machine.

Wegmans investigated the matter by interviewing employees who had been working nearby, and by reviewing surveillance footage of the area. The footage appeared to show (and it is now undisputed) that during the time Worth stepped away from the machine, McCullough walked over to it, removed the key and key ring, and walked away.

After reviewing the footage, Wegmans questioned McCullough in the presence of his Union representative. McCullough, who testified that he " got the sense from [Wegmans Human Resources] ...


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