United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia, Clarksburg
THE OHIO VALLEY COAL COMPANY, Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant,
UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA, INTERNATIONAL UNION, and UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA, Defendants/Counterclaim Plaintiffs.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING
PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF NO. 17],
DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF
NO. 18] AND VACATING ARBITRATION AWARD
S. KLEEH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court are the cross motions for summary judgment
filed by Plaintiff and Counter-Defendant The Ohio Valley Coal
Company [ECF No. 17] and Defendants and Counter-Claimants the
United Mine Workers of America, International Union, and
United Mine Workers of America, District 31 [ECF No. 18]. The
parties have fully briefed the issues presented and the
matter is ripe for decision. For the reasons articulated
herein, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s
motion, DENIES Defendants’ motion and VACATES the
December 13, 2017, Plaintiff The Ohio Valley Coal Company
(“Ohio Valley”) instituted this action initially
challenging an arbitration award finding the underlying
grievance to be arbitrable [ECF No. 1]. Defendants United
Mine Workers of America, International Union and United Mine
Workers of America, District 31 (collectively hereinafter
“UMWA”), filed their Answer and Counterclaim on
February 5, 2018 [ECF No. 7]. Judge Keeley entered a
scheduling order governing designation of a joint stipulated
record and briefing on February 13, 2018 [ECF No. 9]. Ohio
Valley answered the Counterclaim on February 23, 2018 [ECF
No. 11]. Following the Arbitrator’s decision on the
merits, Ohio Valley filed its Amended Complaint to Vacate
Arbitration Award on February 26, 2018 [ECF No. 12].
Defendants filed their Answer and Amended Counterclaim on
March 7, 2018 [ECF No. 13]. Ohio Valley answered the Amended
Counterclaim on March 28, 2018 [ECF No. 14].
parties submitted their Joint Stipulation of Record on June
15, 2018 [ECF No. 15]. Thereafter, the parties timely filed
cross motions for summary judgment with timely responses in
opposition [ECF Nos. 17, 18, 20 and 21]. This matter was
transferred to United States District Judge Thomas S. Kleeh
on December 1, 2018 [ECF No. 22].
the procedural history and underlying proceedings appeared to
take a twisted path, the factual background of this matter is
straightforward. Ohio Valley formerly operated the Powhatan
No. 6 Mine (“Mine”) in Belmont County,
Ohio. Defendant United Mine Workers of America,
District 31 represented all bargaining unit employees of the
Mine since it was constructed and commenced operation in
1972. The 2016 National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement
(“NBCWA”) governs the terms and conditions of
employment for all bargaining unit employees at the Mine.
NBCWA provides the following regarding “Work
The production of coal, including removal of over-burden and
coal waste, preparation, processing and cleaning of coal and
transportation of coal (except by waterway or rail not owned
by Employer), repair and maintenance work normally performed
at the mine site or at a central shop of the Employer and
maintenance of gob piles and mine roads, and work of the type
customarily related to all of the above shall be performed by
classified Employees of the Employer covered by and in
accordance with the terms of this Agreement. Contracting,
subcontracting, leasing and subleasing, and construction
work, as defined herein, will be conducted in accordance with
the provisions of this Article.
Nothing in this section will be construed to diminish the
jurisdiction, express or implied, of the United Mine Workers.
[ECF No. 15-1 at Art. IA §(a)].
NBCWA also provides:
All decisions of the Arbitration Review Board rendered prior
to the expiration of the National Bituminous Coal Wage
Agreement of 1978 shall continue to have precedential effect
under this Agreement to the extent that the basis for such
decisions have not been modified by subsequent changes in
[ECF No. 15-1 at Art. XXIII §(k)].
Valley and UMWA entered into a separate Memorandum of
Understanding (“MOU”) when the NBCWA was signed.
[ECF No. 15-3]. That MOU modified the terms and conditions of
the parties’ relationship and Ohio Valley’s
obligations under the NBCWA. That MOU establishes what
constitutes the Mine as well as “coal lands” for
purposes of properties, lands, reserves, operations and
facilities to which the NBCWA applies.
Mine was in operation through exhaustion of its coal reserves
with production permanently ceasing on October 16, 2016. Ohio
Valley finished processing mined coal from the Mine on
December 15, 2016, and it was permanently sealed on December
31, 2016. The Mine, which once employed nearly 500, was
staffed by only 16 classified employees when the underlying
grievance was filed. [ECF No. 12-1 at 5].
2001, an unrelated subsidiary of Murray Energy Corporation,
American Energy Corporation, opened the Century Mine to mine
a coal reserve contiguous with the Mine. Ohio Valley has no
ownership interest in the Century Mine and the UMWA does not
represent any employees at the Century Mine.
15, 2002, Ohio Valley and American Energy Corporation entered
into a Slurry Disposal Agreement. Ohio Valley licensed rights
to dispose of coal slurry materials to American Energy
Corporation in the impoundment on property formerly
associated with the Mine. [ECF No. 15-4 at Art. III, V].
Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, American Energy
Corporation retains sole responsibility for the
transportation of its slurry materials to the impoundment.
[Id. at Art. IV]. Ohio Valley did grant an easement
and right-of-way entry onto its property for installation and
maintenance of the necessary pipeline. [Id.].
American Energy continued to dispose of its slurry materials
in the impoundment as of briefing in this matter.
UMWA disputes the use of non-bargaining unit labor for repair
and maintenance of the heavy equipment being used to maintain
and increase the size of the water impoundment located on
Ohio Valley’s property formerly associated with the
Mine. Grievance No. 17-31-04 challenged Ohio Valley
contracting out mechanical work required on a D6 Caterpillar
Bulldozer. Specifically, the grievance stated
On 03-09-17 Company violated ART. 1a sec g-2 XXVI sec. b and
other pertinent provisions of the contract. Company has dozer
taken out for repair 6 m[.] This is our work we have always
done [.] Asking to be made whole in all matters ...