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LOCAL 1605 v. CENTRAL CONTRA COSTA COUNTY TRANSIT

March 2, 1999

LOCAL 1605 AMALGAMATED TRANSIT UNION, AFL-CIO; JUNE D. OWENS; LILLIE PINERO; JOSEPH F. DRISCOLL, JR.; JOEL R. SELF; WILLIAM H. WRIGHT, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CENTRAL CONTRA COSTA COUNTY TRANSIT AUTHORITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wilken, District Judge.

            ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY
              JUDGMENT ON PLAINTIFFS' FLSA CLAIM AND GRANTING
           PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON MMBA CLAIM

Applying the two-part test established in Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Co. v. Muscoda Local No. 123, 321 U.S. 590, 598, 64 S.Ct. 698, 88 L.Ed. 949 (1944), the Court finds that Plaintiffs' collective bargaining activities are not compensable work activities under FLSA because those activities were neither controlled by nor conducted for the predominant benefit of' CCCTA. The Court thus grants CCCTA's cross-motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiffs' claims under FLSA. The Court also finds, however, that CCCTA established a term of employment by compensating Plaintiffs for pre-expiration negotiations conducted during time they would not otherwise have been on duty, and that CCCTA unilaterally changed that condition in violation of § 3505 of the MMBA by refusing to compensate Plaintiffs for negotiations conducted during the strike.

BACKGROUND

The facts of this case are not in dispute. The CCCTA is a public transit agency that provides bus service within central Contra Costa County. Each of the individual Plaintiffs in this action is a full-time bus operator for CCCTA. Full-time bus operators at CCCTA bid quarterly either for an assigned "run," which lasts approximately three months, or to work the "extra board," which consists of variable assignments left vacant by other operators. The length of an operator's run determines the minimum hours per day that he or she is paid.*fn1 Operators are paid time and one-half for all hours in excess of forty hours per week.

Since December, 1985, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1605 (the Union) has been the exclusive representative of all bus operators employed by CCCTA. CCCTA and the Union have entered into successive Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), each of which has covered a three year period of time. The most recent expired MOU covered the period from May, 1995 to midnight, January 27, 1998. In the period from November, 1997 to the MOU's expiration on January 27, 1998, bargaining teams for CCCTA and the Union met fifteen times to negotiate a new MOU to cover the period from 1998 to 2001.*fn2

In addition to being represented by the Union, each of the individual Plaintiffs in this action was a member of the Union's negotiating committee. As such, Plaintiffs were involved in ___ of the fifteen pre-expiration negotiation sessions. Plaintiffs were relieved from their runs for each of the pre-expiration negotiation sessions, but were nonetheless paid the greater of their daily run pay or pay for the actual hours spent in negotiations. Owens Decl., ¶ 8. Plaintiffs received double their usual hourly rate for hours in excess of thirteen hours spent negotiating in one day. Id. ¶ 9. Plaintiffs assert that they were paid for all time spent negotiating prior to the strike, including hours after their work days and time on their days off.

On January 24, 1998, the Union notified CCCTA that it would strike if the parties could not agree on the terms of a new MOU by the time of the expiration of the 1995-1998 agreement. The parties negotiated the night of January 27, 1998 but were unable to reach an agreement. At 12:01 a.m., January 28, 1998, the Union bargaining team walked out of the negotiations, thus beginning a strike that lasted until February 13, 1998. During this period all bus operators refused to report to work, and COCTA canceled all regularly scheduled public transportation services. No bus operator received any compensation during the strike.

The Union (including the negotiating committee) and COCTA continued collective bargaining negotiations throughout the strike.*fn3 During the strike, however, none of the members of the negotiating committee was paid for any of the time spent in collective bargaining negotiations. CCCTA did not inform the Union that members of the Union's negotiating team would not be paid for the time they spent in negotiations during the strike.

On February 9, 1998, the Union and the CCCTA reached a tentative agreement on a new MOU. Neither the 1995-1998 nor the 1998-2001 MOU addressed the issue of pay for bargaining time. The new MOU was subsequently ratified by CCCTA's Board of Directors and the Union's membership, and bus operators returned to work on February 13, 1998. On February 26, 1998, the Union's counsel demanded that the Union officials be paid for time spent in negotiations. CCCTA's counsel indicated that CCCTA would not compensate the Union officials for time spent negotiating during the strike. On April 22, 1998 the Union and individual members of its negotiating committee filed this action, alleging that CCCTA's failure to pay them for their participation in negotiations during the strike violated FLSA and MMBA.

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is properly granted when no genuine and disputed issues of material fact remain, and when, viewing the evidence most favorably to the nonmoving party, the movant is clearly entitled to prevail as a matter of law. Fed. R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Eisenberg v. Insurance Co. of North America, 815 F.2d 1285, 1288-89 (9th Cir. 1987).

The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no material factual dispute. Therefore, the Court must regard as true the opposing party's evidence, if supported by affidavits or other evidentiary material. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548; Eisenberg, 815 F.2d at 1289. The Court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the party against whom summary judgment is sought. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986); Intel Corp. v. Hartford Accident and Indem. Co., 952 F.2d 1551, 1558 (9th Cir. 1991).

Material facts which would preclude entry of summary judgment are those which, under applicable substantive law, may affect the outcome of the case. The substantive law will identify which facts are material. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, ...


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