If the appellate rules don’t knock you out, a statute might
The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently addressed a dispute between the Teamsters union and an employer. The Teamsters claimed that the purported sale of a business was a mere sham to evade the employer’s obligations under the collective bargaining agreement. The employer moved in the trial court to compel arbitration. The trial court denied the motion, finding that the question at issue did not fall within the collective bargaining agreement’s arbitration clause. The employer appealed.
The appellate court first addressed its jurisdiction, noting that the employer relied for appellate jurisdiction upon a provision of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) that permits interlocutory appeals of district court rulings granting or denying motions to compel arbitration. However, the FAA also provides that it does not apply to workers engaged in interstate commerce. Thus the question became whether the truck drivers covered by the collective bargaining agreement were involved in interstate commerce.
After sending the matter back to the trial court for further factfinding on the point, the court determined that the truck drivers were engaged in interstate commerce because they occasionally transported loads from Illinois into Missouri.
That means that the collective bargaining agreement was excluded from the FAA’s coverage. Due to that exclusion, appellate jurisdiction could not rest upon the FAA. Because there was no other source of appellate jurisdiction, the court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union No. 50 v. Kienstra Precast, LLC, 702 F.3d 954 (7th Cir. 2012).