CINCINNATI — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled in favor of the Toledo-based International Longshoremen’s Association’s Local 1982, overturning a district court ruling that Midwest Terminals of Toledo International had won regarding an arbitration.
“Midwest Terminals contends that this case is really quite simple,” Judge Danny Julian Boggs wrote to open his 19-page decision. “The danger with telling a federal court that a case is really quite simple is that sometimes the case may turn out to be simple in favor of your opponent.”
The union and the company had a longstanding dispute over welfare contributions to be made to the union based on each employee’s hourly wages. Midwest said a grievance filed by the union was “procedurally invalid” because it was not handled in accordance with the agreement between Local 1982 and the company, the court’s decision said.
The appellate court ruled with the union, which argued its grievance related to failing to follow the provisions of the master agreement.
Terry Leach, Midwest’s director of operations, said he had not read the ruling and could not comment other than “it is still tied up in litigation.”
Midwest Terminals of Toledo International operates Toledo’s general cargo docks on behalf of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, handling the loading and unloading of waterborne freight and managing several warehouses on the property.
Local 1982 is one of several ILA locals at the Toledo port, with different locals representing workers at different terminals. Local 1982 has been without a contract with Midwest since Dec. 31, 2012, and one subject of the unresolved negotiations is Midwest’s desire to no longer participate in a master agreement under which it must provide benefits matching those offered to other locals at other ports.