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Spiger v. United Parcel Services, Inc.

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division

December 29, 2015

SABRINA SPIGER, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED PARCEL SERVICES, INC., Defendant.

ORDER REMANDING CASE

KAREN E. SCHREIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, Sabrina Spiger, filed this pro se lawsuit in the Small Claims Court of Hughes County, South Dakota. Docket 1-1. Defendant removed the case to this court and now moves to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. Docket 1; Docket 4. For the reasons stated below, this case is remanded, and defendant’s motion to dismiss is denied.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

UPS employed Spiger from January 20, 2014 to April 6, 2015. Docket 7 at ¶ 2. She worked both as a counter clerk and as part of UPS’s air operation. Id. The terms and conditions of Spiger’s employment were governed by the “National Master United Parcel Service Agreement” and “Teamsters Central Region and United Parcel Service Supplemental Agreement to the National Master United Parcel Service Agreement” (together, hereinafter “the CBA”). Id. at 5; Docket 7-1.

On March 25, 2015, Spiger filed a grievance complaining that someone changed her hours and that she was not paid for all the time she had worked. Docket 7-1 at 52. She claimed this was a violation “of contract and the laws of the state.” Id. She requested “to be paid for all time/pay as well as penalty, taken away pay from me resulting in lost wages and for practice to cease immediately.” Id. During the grievance hearing, Spiger resigned. Id. She also allegedly told UPS she would “see [it] in court.” Docket 7 at ¶7.

Spiger filed this claim on May 7, 2015 in Small Claims Court in Hughes County. Docket 1-1. She described her claims as “DEBT OWED FOR LOST WAGES IN AIRTIME @ $11.50 HR . . . PLUS LOST WAGES ON TIME CLOCK REGULAR HOURS.” Id. The only law she cites in her complaint is SDCL 60-11-7, which states “In any action for the breach of an obligation to pay wages, if a private employer has been oppressive, fraudulent, or malicious, in the employer's refusal to pay wages due to the employee, the measure of damages is double the amount of wages for which the employer is liable.” Id. She claims punitive damages under this statute. Id.

Defendant removed the case to this court based on federal question jurisdiction. Docket 1 at ¶11. Defendant argues, “Federal question jurisdiction exists in this case based on the complete preemption of Plaintiff's claims by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (‘LMRA’ or ‘Act’), 29 U.S.C. § 185(a), because Plaintiff's claims will necessarily require interpretation of the CBA.” Id. Defendant argues that because Spiger cites a statute that provides for punitive damages when “ ‘a private employer has been oppressive, fraudulent, or malicious, in the employer's refusal to pay wages due to the employee[, ]’ . . . the CBA is critical in determining what amount of wages are due to an employee.” Id. at ¶12-13.

The CBA covers issues of wages, hours, and records as well as grievance and arbitration procedures. Defendants supplied the National Master United Parcel Service Agreement portion of the CBA. Docket 7-1. Article 8 discusses the grievance procedure. Id. at 3. “All grievances and/or questions of interpretation arising under the provisions of this [CBA] shall be submitted to the grievance procedure for determination.” Id. Article 8, section 3 states, “If the Master Panel is unable to reach agreement, then either party may appeal the issue presented to final and binding arbitration.” Id. at 6.

Article 12 provides:

Upon request, an employee or the Union may inspect the record of an employee’s time recorded on the DIAD or other device for previous days’ work. An employee will be permitted to examine the operation record for the current pay period for the purpose of ascertaining his/her hours worked. If an employee has an issue with his/her hours worked for a particular day, the Employer will provide the employee, upon written request, with a print out of his/her hours worked.
The Employer shall not alter the information from the DIAD board, or information recorded through the use of any other technology, so as to diminish an employee’s compensable time, without the employee’s knowledge. Further, the Employer shall post for an employee’s review, a copy of the PTE edits for each day.

Id. at 11.

Article 17 provides:

All employees covered by this Agreement shall be paid for all time spent in service of the Employer. Rates of pay provided for by this Agreement shall be minimums. Time shall be computed from the time that the employee is ordered to report for work and registers in and until the employee is effectively released from duty.

Id. at 12.

Article 22, section 5 lays out the wage structure for part time employees. Id. at 18. Article 40, section 6 regulates the part-time air drivers wages. Id. at 26. Article 41 regulates full-time employees’ wages. Id. at 36.

Defendant also provided the Teamsters Central Region and United Parcel Service Supplemental Agreement portion of the CBA. Docket 7-1. Article 5, section 1 states: “The Union and the Employer agree that there shall be no . . . legal proceedings without first using all possible means of a settlement, as provided for in this Agreement . . . .” Id. at 39. This section defines a grievance as “any controversy, complaint, misunderstanding, or dispute arising as to interpretation, application or observance of any of the provisions of this Agreement . . . .” Id. Section 1 also details the grievance procedure. Id. at 40-42.

Article 8, section 1 states: “All regular employees covered by this Agreement shall be paid in full each week.” Id. at 43. Article 9 regulates time sheets and time clocks. Id. at 44. It states:

The Employer shall provide and require the employee to keep a time sheet or trip card showing the arrival and departure at centers or hubs . . . and same shall be turned in at the end of each trip. . . . In all delivery operations, a daily time record shall be maintained by the Employer at its place of business.

Id.

Article 11 regulates part-time employees. Section 3 states: “It is understood these employees shall be paid the appropriate rate of pay for all hours which [sic] they perform such work.” Id. at 46. Article 12 regulates weekly work schedules and overtime pay. Id. at 47-50.

Defendant now moves to dismiss this action for failure to state a claim because Spiger’s claims are preempted by § 301 of the LMRA and for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because she failed to exhaust her remedies in the ...


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