Schneider Moving & Storage Company v. Robbins

PETITIONER: Schneider Moving & Storage Company
RESPONDENT: Robbins
LOCATION: Environmental Protection Agency

DOCKET NO.: 82-1860
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

CITATION: 466 US 364 (1984)
ARGUED: Feb 21, 1984
DECIDED: Apr 18, 1984

ADVOCATES:
Charles W. Bobinette - on behalf of Prosser's Moving and Storage Co
David F. Yates - on behalf of Schneider Moving and Storage Co
Russell N. Luplow - on behalf of the respondents

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Schneider Moving & Storage Company v. Robbins

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 21, 1984 in Schneider Moving & Storage Company v. Robbins

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments next in Schneider against Robbins and Prosser against Robbins.

Mr. Yates, I think you may proceed whenever you are ready.

David F. Yates:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court, the cases before the Court today, which are consolidated, arise out of a collective bargaining relationship.

Schneider and Prosser are two independent moving companies located in St. Louis, Missouri.

Over a number of years, they entered into a series of collective bargaining agreements with a teamster's local in St. Louis.

In accordance with these agreements, they agreed that they would make contributions to the respondent trustee funds on behalf of regular employees.

The labor agreements further provided that contributions would not be made on behalf of non-regular employees, who are variously referred to in the agreements as part-time, extras, casuals, temporary, and seasonals.

I would like to emphasize at the outset that this particular dispute arises out of the terms of the collective bargaining agreements.

It does not involve the interpretation or construction of statutory rights.

In the collective bargaining agreements, Schneider and Prosser and the unions expressly reserved to themselves the right to resolve differences regarding the meaning or application of the agreements through the grievance and arbitration procedure in the contracts.

They did not provide the trustees would have the right to resolve those questions of coverage, as they are referred to, in litigation in federal court.

I will address--

Byron R. White:

What if the collective bargaining agreement says there will be a trust agreement, and uses certain words in describing the coverage, and then there is a trust agreement, and it uses the same words about coverage?

David F. Yates:

--If there is no question regarding the coverage, then I think that the--

Byron R. White:

Well, there is a question about what the words mean.

David F. Yates:

--Oh, if there is a question about what the words mean in the collective bargaining agreement--

Byron R. White:

Well, and the same words are in the trust agreement.

David F. Yates:

--With respect to the collective bargaining agreement, if the employer and the union have reserved to themselves the right to resolve the coverage question under the contract, I believe that is resolving of the contract.

Under the trust agreement, I believe the trustees of the funds would have the right to resolve that question.

Byron R. White:

Well, what is the case in this... what is the situation in this case?

David F. Yates:

In this situation, the collective bargaining agreements provided that the employers would make contributions on behalf of the regular employees--

Byron R. White:

Right.

David F. Yates:

--and not on behalf of extras, casuals, part-times, seasonal, and temporary.

Byron R. White:

Yes.

David F. Yates:

The trust agreements, on the other hand, conditioned eligibility for benefits on employees for whom contributions were required under the collective bargaining agreement, so it goes back to what the collective bargaining agreement expressly provides.

Byron R. White:

But it is just as though the trust agreement had used the very same language as the collective bargaining agreement.

David F. Yates:

Correct.

It is our position that in effect the trustees have said, we will be bound by the terms of the collective bargaining agreement with respect to the employer's obligation to make contributions.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Mr. Yates, in this particular case involving the Schneider company, as I understand it, the union was decertified--

David F. Yates:

That's correct.