The trial court erred in not ordering plaintiff employee’s claim to arbitration. Though the arbitration provision of the governing collective bargaining agreement had a narrow arbitration provision requiring arbitration only of disputes about the collective bargaining agreement or performance under it, section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act requires arbitration of any dispute that as part of the plaintiff’s claim requires interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement. Here, an intermittently employed security guard contended that he should be treated as “discharged” at the conclusion of each event at which he was employed as a security guard and that he was thus entitled to immediate payment of wages for that event under Labor Code section 201. To decide the claim, the trier of fact would first need to determine whether the security guard was employed event by event or on some more permanent basis. That required interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement. Even though the agreement did not expressly answer the question, its terms could implicitly provide an answer–such as by showing that a guard did not have to reapply for employment after each event and obtained seniority privileges on an on-going basis.
California Court of Appeal, First District, Division Three (Pollak, J.); October 17, 2017; 2017 WL 4639877.