The Eighth Circuit in ABF Freight System, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, recently created a circuit split with the Sixth and Third Circuits on the question of jurisdiction under §301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act.  The question concerns whether the existence or violation of a labor contract is an element of the plaintiff’s case or a limit on subject matter jurisdiction.  In Winnett v. Caterpillar, Inc., 553 F.3d 1000 (6th Cir. 2009), the Sixth Circuit held that it was not jurisdictional.  Interpreting the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Arbaugh v. W & Y Corp, 546 U.S. 500 (2006), the Sixth Circuit held that Congress did not clearly state that the existence of a union contract is a jurisdictional prerequisite for a §301(a) claim.  The Sixth Circuit walked through not only the language of §301(a) in the course of its analysis, but also the pragmatic effects of the holding.  The court highlighted a number of practical problems that would be attendant with the rule that the existence of a contract was jurisdictional.  In a brief concurrence, Judge Rogers argued that the court should not even address that question, essentially characterizing the majority’s opinion on that issue as dicta.  Notwithstanding the claim of dicta, the Sixth Circuit’s view was expressly followed by the Third Circuit in Pittsburgh Mack Sales & Service, Inc. v. International Union of Operating Engineers, 580 F.3d 185 (3d Cir. 2009).  The Eighth Circuit rejected both decisions, but did not delve too deeply into the question.  Rather, it simply concluded that because the U.S. Supreme Court had previously treated §301(a) as jurisdictional and because Congress had done nothing to disturb those decisions, the Third and Sixth Circuits had erred in reaching the conclusion that the existence of the contract was not jurisdictional.  Is Supreme Court review of this question looming on the horizon?