Chicago Tribune Fights Arbitration Award for Overtime

CHICAGO (CN) – The Chicago Tribune sued a labor union representing its 120 delivery drivers on Tuesday, claiming an arbitrator misinterpreted a collective-bargaining agreement to award the drivers 10 hours of overtime pay each time their rest period is interrupted to fill in for absent co-workers. 

The newspaper filed a lawsuit against Teamster Local Union No. 727, which represents the drivers, in Chicago federal court seeking to vacate the arbitration award.

Represented by lead attorney Russell Linden with Honigman Miller, the Tribune claims arbitrator Amedeo Greco ignored the clear language of the CBA, which it says makes clear that drivers are paid one and a half times the rate of their base pay only for the hours they work beyond their regular eight-hour shifts.

Drivers rest 10 hours between shifts but say they are entitled to 10 hours gap or bridge pay when that rest period is interrupted. The union filed a grievance in February against the Tribune, claiming the paper had failed to provide gap pay for work done beyond the drivers’ regular hours, in violation of trucking regulations and the company’s own decades-long practice.

The paper, meanwhile, claims that under the union’s interpretation of the CBA, it would be required to pay 10 hours of overtime to drivers who work only a few minutes over their regular hours.

In July, Greco sided with the union and found that the Tribune had violated Section 12 of the CBA, but the newspaper claims he disregarded the “clear language” of the agreement.

“Instead, the arbitrator impermissibly dispensed his own brand of industrial justice which would require the Tribune to pay its drivers ten hours of gap pay at time and a half for performing as little as fifteen minutes of an absent driver’s work,” the seven-page filing states.

Attorney Linden, the Tribune’s parent company Tronc and Teamsters Local Union No. 727 did not immediately respond Tuesday to requests for comment.

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