Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Amalgamated Transit Union v. Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon

Court of Appeals of Oregon

June 26, 2019

AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION, DIVISION 757, Respondent,
v.
TRI-COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION DISTRICT OF OREGON, Petitioner.

          Argued and submitted January 16, 2019.

          Employment Relations Board UP02216

          Nicholas H. Pyle argued the cause for petitioner. Also on the briefs were Bruce L. Campbell and Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP.

          Henry J. Kaplan argued the cause and filed the brief for respondent.

          Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Tookey, Judge, and Shorr, Judge.

         Case Summary: Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) petitions the Court of Appeals for review of a fnal order of the Employment Relations Board (ERB) in favor of Amalgamated Transit Union, Division 757 (ATU). In that order, ERB concluded that TriMet had violated ORS 243.672(1)(g)-which establishes that a public employer commits an unfair labor practice if it violates an agreement to arbitrate-by refusing to arbitrate a grievance brought by ATU. ERB concluded that the unambiguous language of the arbitration clause of the parties' collective bargaining agreement obligated TriMet to arbitrate the grievance. Held: ERB did not err. The arbitration clause of the collective bargaining agreement unambiguously required TriMet to arbitrate the grievance. Although ERB erroneously applied a maxim of contract construction to explain its decision, the Court of Appeals determined that those comments were dicta and did not constitute legal error.

         Affirmed.

         [298 Or.App. 333] SHORR, J.

         Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) petitions for judicial review of a final order of the Employment Relations Board (ERB) in favor of Amalgamated Transit Union, Division 757 (ATU). In that order, ERB concluded that TriMet had violated ORS 243.672(1)(g), which establishes that a public employer commits an unfair labor practice if it violates an agreement to arbitrate, when it refused to arbitrate a grievance concerning TriMet's decision to enter into contracts with nonunion shuttlebus operators. We review ERB's findings of fact for substantial evidence and its conclusions for legal error. Portland Fire Fighters' Assn. v. City of Portland, 181 Or.App. 85, 87, 45 P.3d 162 (2002); ORS 183.482(8)(a). For the reasons explained below, we conclude that ERB did not err. Accordingly, we affirm.

         Petitioner does not contend before us that ERB's order is unsupported by substantial evidence. Rather, petitioner contends that ERB legally erred in construing the relevant contract. Because ERB's findings are supported by substantial evidence, we take the following facts from ERB's order.

         TriMet is a public entity that operates public bus and rail services in the Portland metropolitan area. TriMet employees, including its bus operators, are represented by ATU. The relationship between TriMet and ATU is governed by a collective bargaining agreement, known as the Working Wage Agreement (WWA). The WWA establishes TriMet's obligations to its employees and includes procedures for the filing of grievances by employees or ATU for alleged violations of those obligations.

         In 1998, TriMet began to receive and administer Job Access and Rural Commute (JARC) grants that are provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). JARC grants are intended to provide commuting services for people living in urban areas who commute to underserved rural or suburban areas for work. In the circumstances at issue here, the FTA provides the grant money directly to TriMet, and then TriMet oversees and administers a competitive [298 Or.App. 334] process of awarding the grant money to subrecipients- typically nonprofit organizations-to run shuttlebuses on routes that are not part of TriMet's "fixed route" services. TriMet enters into contracts with JARC grant subrecipients, under which the subrecipients agree to provide certain services under specified conditions and to allow for oversight and auditing by TriMet. In addition to administering the JARC grants, TriMet is occasionally required to make "in-kind" contributions to JARC-funded projects, which may include but are not limited to contributions directly to JARC grant subrecipients.

         Starting in 2014, TriMet contracted with Ride Connection, a nonprofit shuttlebus operator, to run certain bus lines in exchange for JARC grant funds. Ride Connection bus operators are not members of ATU. In 2015, ATU filed the grievance that is the basis for this appeal (the shuttle grievance). The amended shuttle grievance included the allegation that TriMet's contract with Ride Connection violated Article 2, section 1, paragraph 9 of the WWA-also known as the "lines of the district" provision-which provides that "all vehicles run on the lines of the District shall be run by Operators should they be operated," with limited categorical exceptions. In that context, "operators" refers to ATU members as opposed to nonunion workers such as Ride Connection employees. The grievance form used by ATU described the dispute as follows:

"TriMet has entered into [a] partnership with the Ride Connection to create [a] bus service. These routes [were] funded in partnership with TriMet. These routes should be offered to TriMet ATU operators as ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.