FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MASSACHUSETTS, HON. MARK G. MASTROIANNI, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Shannon Liss-Riordan, with whom Lichten & Liss-Riordan,
P.C. was on brief, for appellants
Morsilli, with whom Douglas J. Hoffman and Jackson Lewis P.C.
were on brief, for appellees.
Howard, Chief Judge, and Lynch and Lipez, Circuit Judges.
are a putative class of unionized nurses who sued their
employer in state court for unpaid wages and overtime pay for
work performed outside their approved shifts. Their employer
removed the case to federal court, citing the doctrine of
complete preemption, under which claims requiring
interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement
("CBA") are reclassified as federal claims. The
district court, finding that this case is controlled by our
opinion in Cavallaro v. UMass Memorial
Healthcare, Inc., 678 F.3d 1, 3-4 (1st Cir. 2012),
determined that complete preemption applies and therefore
denied plaintiffs' motion to remand. Separately, it
granted the defendants' motion for judgment on the
pleadings. Plaintiffs appeal, challenging both orders.
decide whether there is a plausible argument, as defendants
contend, that adjudicating plaintiffs' claims will
require the resolution of a genuine interpretive dispute
about one or more provisions of the CBA. If so, the putative
state law claims are completely preempted, and removal was
proper. Separately, we must determine whether the plaintiffs,
in agreeing to a CBA containing a grievance and arbitration
provision, were precluded from bringing this suit, requiring
the district court to grant judgment on the pleadings to
Rueli and seven other named plaintiffs are employed by
defendants-appellees Baystate Visiting Nurse Association
& Hospice, Inc. and Baystate Health, Inc.
("Baystate"). Plaintiffs are visiting nurses, i.e.,
nurses responsible for traveling to patients' homes to
provide care. As members of a union, the Massachusetts Nurses
Association, plaintiffs concede that they are subject to the
terms of a CBA between that union and Baystate. The
agreement's provisions include:
• A preamble stating that "[i]t is the intent and
purpose of this Agreement to promote orderly collective
bargaining and the settlement of all differences or disputes
through the grievance and arbitration procedures established
• A salary schedule based on seniority, CBA § 3.1,
App'x A, separate pay provisions for per diem nurses,
id. art. XXXV(5)-(6), and a separate "per
visit" compensation scheme, id. art. XXXVI.
• A number of provisions for premium pay, including
time-and-a-half pay for hours worked beyond the standard 37
1/2-hour work week, id. § 4.2, pay for on-call
time, id. §§ 4.4(B), 5.3, 6.3(A), 31.1(3),
and evening differential pay, id. §§
4.7(E), 4.8(D), 5.4.
• A scheduling provision requiring that "[a]
definite reporting time, working schedule and staffing
schedule . . . shall be established by [Baystate], " and
that "schedules shall not be changed without prior
discussion between both parties." Id. §
• A requirement that "[a]ll patient documentation
shall be completed at the point of care or prior to the end
of the employee[']s shift. Any variations from either of
these requirements are subject to the employee's request
and approval of the clinical manager which shall not be
unreasonably withheld. To assist the manager in making
her/his reasonable determination, a conversation shall take
place in which the employee's and patient[']s needs
will be discussed." Id. § 4.1(C).
• A management rights clause, giving Baystate management
"the recognized reserved right" "to schedule
and assign work to employees; to determine the means,
methods, processes, materials and schedules of operations; .
. . to establish standards and to maintain the efficiency of
employees; [and] to establish and require employees to
observe [Baystate's] rules and regulations."
Id. § 16.1.
• A grievance and arbitration provision allowing that
"[g]rievances may be filed by a nurse, a group of
nurses, the Unit Representative or Massachusetts Nurses
Association." The provision requires that grievances
first be submitted to an immediate supervisor, then, if not
resolved, escalated to the President of Baystate, and, if
still not resolved, grievances "shall be submitted to
arbitration in accordance with the voluntary rules of the
American Arbitration Association. The decision of the
Arbitrator shall be final and binding upon the
employees[.]" Id. The term
"grievances" is not defined in the agreement.
brought suit in Hampden County Superior Court, claiming that
the volume of work required them to work before and after
their scheduled shifts and they were not paid for that time.
In seeking wages owed and other relief under the Weekly Wage
Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148, and the Overtime
Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151, § 1B, they sue for
themselves and on behalf of a broad putative class: "all
others similarly situated, namely all other individuals who
are, and who have been, employed as nurses by Defendants who
have not received all wages and overtime payments due to
them." Compl. ¶ 10.
alleged the following facts in their complaint, which we
accept as true:
• "In their employment with Baystate, visiting
nurses such as the named plaintiffs have been paid an hourly
wage (ranging from approximately $28 to $38 per hour)."
Id. at ¶ 13.
• "Due to the volume of work assigned to them, the
nurses are regularly required to work outside of their
regularly scheduled shifts." Id. at ¶ 15.
• "This unpaid work has included preparatory work
before they have visited a patient and follow-up work after
they have visited a patient." Id. at ¶ 16.
• "As a result, the nurses often do not receive
overtime payments to which they are entitled."
Id. at ¶ 17.
• "This unpaid work frequently consists of computer
work in preparation for a visit with a patient, and computer
work following up after a visit. Thus, much of this unpaid
work is completed by the nurses while they are logged onto
the Baystate computer system. Defendants are therefore aware
of the work performed by the nurses outside of their
regularly scheduled shifts for which they are not
compensated." Id. at ¶ 18.
do not allege that any of the nurses informed Baystate about
this additional unpaid work, or that they followed the