Judgment,” in which the Union reiterated its arguments regarding the scope of
judicial review of labor-arbitration decisions.
The district court decided to treat these pending motions as cross motions
for summary judgment. The court granted CP Kelco’s motion and denied the
Union’s motion. In its ruling, the district court acknowledged the narrow scope
of the available judicial review. However, the district court also explained that,
despite the Union’s protests to the contrary, “an arbitrator’s decision is not
entirely beyond the reach of the courts” because “his award is legitimate only so
long as it draws its essence from the collective bargaining agreement. When the
arbitrator’s words manifest an infidelity to this obligation, courts have no choice
but to refuse enforcement of the award.” Id. at 11 (Op. & Order Granting Summ.
J. in Favor of the Pl., filed Mar. 30, 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Under that limited review, the district court held that “[t]he Court is satisfied that
the arbitrator’s decision in this case did not draw its essence from the collective
bargaining agreement between the parties.” Id. at 13. Instead, the district court
determined that the arbitration decision “drew its essence from the 2003 Call-In
Policy, which the arbitrator found was an enforceable past practice that CP Kelco
could not unilaterally alter or amend.” Id. The court emphasized that the
arbitrator was not using the 2003 Call-In Policy “as an aid to resolving
ambiguity” in the CBA; instead, the arbitrator’s decision “dr[ew] its essence
from the 2003 Call-In Policy.” Id. at 16, 17. The court therefore held that “the