Baker Concrete Constr., Inc. v. Reinforced Concrete Contractors Ass'n, No. 14-4102 (6th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Baker, an Ohio concrete construction business, subcontracts its work to smaller firms. In 2000, Baker signed a multi-employer collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the Reinforced Concrete Contractors Association and the Union, covering current employees and employees not yet hired. A prehire CBA is allowed only in the construction industry, 29 U.S.C. 158(f). The CBA renewed automatically. On January 25, 2013, Baker sent the Union a letter, asserting: “Baker’s notice of its intent to terminate the Agreement, including any subsequent successor agreements.” The Union responded: "notice of withdrawal should be made not more than 60 days prior to the termination of the Agreement. The Agreement is in effect … until May 31, 2015, therefore your request was untimely." Baker reiterated that none of its employees perform work covered by the Agreement and that none had performed bargaining unit work covered by the Agreement for at least seven years. The Union filed a grievance. Baker stated that it did not recognize the arbitrator’s authority, but would appear to preserve its position. The arbitrator found Baker in violation of the CBA. The district court vacated the award. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, adopting the single-employee-unit rule; an employer may repudiate statutory and contractual obligations when the employer does not employ anyone within the relevant bargaining unit.