Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Erachem Comilog, Inc. v. [United Steel Workers Union] (Maryland U.S.D.C.) (Not approved for publication)

Signed April 19, 2007. Memorandum and Order by Judge Catherine C. Blake (not approved for publication).

On consideration of a claim by the plaintiff ("Erachem") to vacate an arbitration award entered in favor of United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, AFL-CIO-CLC Local 12517-04 (the "Union"), and the Union's counterclaim to affirm the award, the judge DENIED Erachem's motion, and GRANTED the Union's motion.

A member of the Union ("Cavey") was discharged by his employer, Erachem, for allegedly misrepresenting his physical condition following a knee injury at work. Pursuant to the provisions of the Union's Collective Bargaining Agreement with Erachem, the discharge decision was eventually taken to arbitration, where the arbitrator found that Erachem failed to prove it had just cause to discharge Cavey, and ordered his reinstatement.

Noting that its review of an arbitral award was "among the narrowest known to the law", the judge affirmed the arbitrator's decision, finding that the arbitrator's consideration of the unemployment and worker's compensation awards in Cavey's favor was not erroneous and only part of the support cited for the decision, nor did the discussion of Cavey's Weingarten rights, even if in error, did not form the basis for the decision and award. In sum, the judge found that Erachem had not met its "exacting burden" of showing the arbitrator had "dispensed his own brand of justice" in granting the award, and affirmed.

The Memorandum and Order are available in PDF format.

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