Ameritech Corp. v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Seventh Circuit)
This case arose from a series of arbitrations between an employer and a union representing many of its employees pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement. A provision in that agreement allowed the employer to contract out certain work to nonunion workers, with the union receiving a limited right to review and challenge that allotment if it would result in union layoffs. When the employer announced a round of layoffs due to economic conditions, unrelated to the use of nonunion workers, the union claimed the right to challenge those layoffs. After two arbitrators disagreed over the union’s right to challenge the layoffs, the parties agreed to submit the dispute to a third arbitrator, who sided with the employer. Nevertheless, the union obtained a court order allowing it to review the layoffs. On behalf of the employer, we successfully appealed that decision and persuaded the Seventh Circuit to overturn the order on the ground that the decision in the third arbitration, favoring the employer, was controlling.