IBEW Local #111 v. Public Service Co., No. 13-1207 (10th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
In 2009, the Public Service Company of Colorado entered into a collective-bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #111, a union that represented some of the Company’s employees. About two years later, the Company unilaterally modified its retired workers’ healthcare benefits by increasing their copayment obligations for prescription drugs. The Union claimed that the Company had violated the collective-bargaining agreement by doing so and demanded arbitration. The Company refused to arbitrate, and the Union sued and asked the district court to stay the case and compel arbitration. When the district court denied that motion, the Union filed an interlocutory appeal. The issues this case presented for the Tenth Circuit's review were: (1) whether the Tenth Circuit ha jurisdiction to hear the appeal; and (2) whether the district court should have sent the case to arbitration. The Court concluded that appellate jurisdiction existed under the Federal Arbitration Act, and that the district court properly denied compelling arbitration because the collective-bargaining agreement’s arbitration provision was not susceptible to an interpretation that covers disputes over retired workers’ healthcare benefits. The Court therefore affirmed the district court’s order and remanded the case back to the district court for further proceedings.