Appeal from order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Henry F. Werker, J., vacating an arbitration award. Reversed.
Before Smith,*fn* Feinberg, Circuit Judges, and Gagliardi, District Judge.*fn**
In this case we must decide whether a district court improperly set aside an arbitration award that resolved a dispute between a union and an employer. The union is Newspaper Guild of New York, Local 3, TNG, AFL-CIO; the employer is Advance Publications, Inc., successor in interest to Long Island Daily Press Publishing Co., Inc. The union appeals from an order of Judge Henry F. Werker, entered in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, that vacated an arbitration award in favor of the union and denied its motion to confirm the award. For reasons set forth below, we reverse the order of the district court and grant the motion to confirm the award.
The controversy grows out of the permanent suspension in March 1977 of publication of the Long Island Daily Press and the Long Island Sunday Press. The union, which represented Editorial Department employees, and the employer had been in a collective bargaining relationship for over 30 years; the last contract between the parties commenced in 1974 and by its terms continued in effect until the date when publishing operations ceased. After the newspaper's demise, the employer and the union met many times to discuss various claims of employees under the collective bargaining agreement arising out of the suspension of operations. One such claim was for accrued vacation pay allegedly owed to Louis O'Neill, who had worked at the newspaper for many years and was, at the time of its closing, a Sports Editor. The union claimed on O'Neill's behalf that he was entitled to 20 weeks of accrued vacation pay on his termination date. The employer resisted this claim, and when the parties were unable to agree the union invoked the arbitration clause of the agreement.*fn1 The arbitration was held in November 1978, and each party presented evidence, and briefed and argued the issues.
In the arbitration, the union relied on the following provisions in the labor agreement, governing vacation rights:
Each employee shall receive an annual vacation with full pay as follows:
(a) After six months employment 1 week's vacation
(b) After one year's employment 2 weeks' vacation
(c) After five years' employment 3 weeks' vacation
(d) After ten years' employment 4 ...