Burnside v. Kiewit Pac. Corp., 2007 WL 1760747 (9th Cir. 2007)

The employees in this class action case were required to report to a designated site before being transported in company vans or pickup trucks to their jobsites. The employees were told that the reason for this arrangement was that there was a “shortage of parking spaces at the jobsites.” The combined meeting and travel time added 2 to 2½ hours of time to each employee’s workday. In their complaint, plaintiffs alleged violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law, the California Wage Orders for unpaid regular and overtime wages and conversion. The employer removed the case from state to federal court and asserted that plaintiffs’ claims were preempted by Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act. The district court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment based on federal preemption, but the Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that the claims at issue in the lawsuit are based on a right conferred as a matter of state law and not by the employees’ collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Further, the Court of Appeals held that it was not necessary to “interpret” the CBA.