Medina County Courthouse

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Judge Kimbler Decision Regarding Vacating Arbitration Award by Employee

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion to Vacate Arbitration Award and Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. Upon due on consideration of the arguments in the Defendant’s motion as well as Plaintiff’s Brief in Opposition, the Court finds that Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment is well taken.

Based on the authority of Leon v. Boardman Township (2003), 100 Ohio St.ed 335, the Court finds that an employee does not have standing to petition a court to vacate an arbitration award pursuant to R.C. §2711.10, unless the collective bargaining agreement between the employer and the union expressly gives him an independent right to submit disputes to arbitration. Neither of the collective bargaining agreements covering Plaintiff’s employment at UPS gives him the right to challenge the arbitration award.

Statement of the Law

R.C. §2711.10 gives this Court the power to vacate an arbitration award, but only in very limited circumstances. That section reads as follows:

§ 2711.10. Court may vacate award

In any of the following cases, the court of common pleas shall make an order vacating the award upon the application of any party to the arbitration if:

(A) The award was procured by corruption, fraud, or undue means.

(B) Evident partiality or corruption on the part of the arbitrators, or any of them.

(C) The arbitrators were guilty of misconduct in refusing to postpone the hearing, upon sufficient cause shown, or in refusing to hear evidence pertinent and material to the controversy; or of any other misbehavior by which the rights of any party have been prejudiced.

(D) The arbitrators exceeded their powers, or so imperfectly executed them that a mutual, final, and definite award upon the subject matter submitted was not made.

As the Hamilton County Court of Appeals held in Cincinnati vs. Queen City Lodge No. 69, Fraternal Order of Police (2005), 164 Ohio App. 3d 408; 2005 Ohio 6225; 842 N.E.2d 588, the power of a court when reviewing an arbitration award is very limited. When the parties have agreed in a collective-bargaining agreement to settle their disputes by using a mutually acceptable arbitrator rather than a judge, they have bargained for and agreed to accept the arbitrator's findings of fact and interpretation of the contract. A reviewing court cannot reject an arbitrator's findings of fact or decision simply because it disagrees with them.

"Public policy favors arbitration." Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Auth. v. Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 627, 91 Ohio St.3d 108, 109, 2001 Ohio 294, 742 N.E.2d 630. Arbitration provides the parties with "a relatively speedy and inexpensive method of conflict resolution and has the additional advantage of unburdening crowded court dockets." Findlay School Dist. Bd. of Edn. v. Findlay Edn. Assn. (1990), 49 Ohio St.3d 129, 131, 551 N.E.2d 186, quoting Mahoning Cty. Bd. of Mental Retardation & Dev. Disabilities v. Mahoning Cty. TMR Edn. Assn. (1986), 22 Ohio St.3d 80, 83, 22 Ohio B. 95, 488 N.E.2d 872. "The whole purpose of arbitration would be undermined if courts had broad authority to vacate an arbitrator's award." Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Auth., supra, at 109-110, quoting Mahoning Cty. Bd. of Mental Retardation & Dev. Disabilities, 22 Ohio St.3d at 83-84, 488 N.E.2d 872. Therefore, a strong presumption favors the regularity and integrity of an arbitrator's award. See Findlay City School Dist. Bd. of Edn. v. Findlay Edn. Assn. (1990), 49 Ohio St.3d 129, 551 N.E.2d 186, paragraph one of the syllabus.

In this case, the collective bargaining agreement between Plaintiff’s union, the Teamsters Central Region, and United Parcel provides that, “Grievance procedures may be invoked only by authorized Union or Employer representatives. In the event of any grievance, complaint or dispute on the part of any employee, it shall be handled in the following manner and a decision reached at any state shall be final and binding on both parties.” (page 172 of the Supplemental Agreement to the National Master United Parcel Service Agreement.) Similarly, Article 7 of the National Master Agreement on page 19 states, “The procedures set forth in the local, state and area grievance procedure may be invoked only by the authorized Union representative or Employer.” (Emphasis added.)

The court finds that the collective bargaining agreement which covers Plaintiff’s employment expressly reserves the right to invoke grievance procedures for the union and the company. An individual employee can look only to his or her union to initiate, pursue or appeal grievances. Plaintiff’s membership in the union requires that he rely solely on the union to protect his rights throughout the grievance procedures.


The Court finds that Plaintiff lacks standing to challenge the decision of the Board of Arbitration which ruled on the grievance against him. Plaintiff’s Motion to Vacate Arbitration Award should be, and hereby is, denied. Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment is granted. This case is dismissed.

Court costs are taxed to Plaintiff.