This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Independent School District No. 1,
Filed March 14, 2006
Aitkin County District Court
File No. C7-04-0741
Considered and decided by Minge, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Dietzen, Judge.
In this appeal from an order vacating an arbitrator’s award, appellant argues that the district court erred by not deferring to the arbitrator’s decision on the arbitrability of a grievance. Because we conclude that the arbitrator did not have jurisdiction, we affirm.
In May 2003, appellant Education Minnesota-Aitkin
filed the first of three grievances on behalf of a teacher employed by
respondent Independent School District No. 1,
The CBA provides for arbitration as follows:
Section 7. Arbitration Procedures: . . . If the teacher and the Board of Education are unable to resolve a grievance, the grievance may be submitted to arbitration as defined herein:
. . . .
Subd. 2. Selection of Arbitrator: The representative of the Board of Education and the teacher or the teacher’s representative shall, within five days after the request to arbitrate, attempt to mutually select an arbitrator. If the parties cannot agree as to the arbitrator, they will obtain a list of arbitrators and each will strike until one is left. This process shall not take longer than ten additional days.
. . . .
Subd. 6. Jurisdiction: The arbitrator shall have jurisdiction over disputes or disagreements relating to grievances properly before the arbitrator pursuant to the terms of this procedure. The jurisdiction of the arbitrator shall not extend to proposed changes in terms and conditions of employment as defined herein and contained in this written Agreement; nor shall an arbitrator have jurisdiction over any grievance which has not been submitted to arbitration in compliance with the terms of the grievance and arbitration procedure as outlined herein.
The district filed a motion in the
district court to vacate the arbitrator’s award. Because Education Minnesota failed to select
an arbitrator within the time provided for in the CBA, the district court held
that the arbitrator did not have jurisdiction to arbitrate the grievance and vacated
the arbitrator’s award. Education
on appeal is whether the district court erred in determining that the
arbitrator lacked jurisdiction. “
party moves to vacate an arbitration award under section 572.19, subdivision 1(3),
the only reviewable question is whether the arbitrator addressed an arbitrable
arbitrability of a grievance can be either substantive or procedural. Millwrights
Local 548, United Bhd. of Carpenters v. Robt. J. Pugleasa Co., 419 N.W.2d
105, 107 (
The only explanation given for the delay was uncertainty over whether an Education Minnesota attorney or the teacher’s private attorney would handle the arbitration. However, no continuance was sought and no explanation was given why an arbitrator could not be selected or why this uncertainty continued for several months. The arbitrator refused to dismiss because he believed the CBA did not provide a remedy for delay and because the CBA provided that “the principles of . . . basic due process will be followed.” This delay violates the clear terms of the arbitration procedure in the CBA, which state that the procedural requirements are jurisdictional. There is no claim of waiver, estoppel, past practices, unfairness, extenuating circumstances or other considerations that would raise a factual question for the arbitrator to consider, that would result in the procedural issue being intertwined with the substantial dispute, or that would require inquiry about what steps were necessary to demand arbitration. See Duininck Bros., 531 N.W.2d at 210-11.
Because of the jurisdictional language of the CBA and because there is no dispute, ambiguity, or defense for the arbitrator to consider or that would preclude or complicate a straightforward application of the CBA, we conclude the district court did not err in vacating the arbitrator’s award.