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Transit Mix Concrete Corp. v. Local Union No. 282

decided: January 22, 1987.

TRANSIT MIX CONCRETE CORPORATION, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
LOCAL UNION NO. 282, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS, CHAUFFEURS, WAREHOUSEMEN AND HELPERS OF AMERICA, RESPONDENT-CROSS PETITIONER-APPELLEE



Appeal from a judgment and order entered in the Southern District of New York, John E. Sprizzo, District Judge, denying an employer's petition for a permanent stay of arbitration of a labor dispute and granting a Union's cross petition to compel arbitration of that dispute. Affirmed.

Author: Timbers

Before: FEINBERG, Chief Judge, TIMBERS and PIERCE, Circuit Judges.

TIMBERS, Circuit Judge:

Appellant Transit Mix Concrete Corporation ("appellant") appeals from a judgment and order entered in the Southern District of New York, John E. Sprizzo, District Judge, denying appellant's petition for a permanent stay of arbitration of a labor dispute and granting a cross petition of appellee Local Union No. 282, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America ("appellee") to compel arbitration of that dispute.

The collective bargaining agreement ("the CBA")*fn1 between the parties contains a broad arbitration provision. In another clause, the agreement states that all arbitration awards "shall be final, conclusive and binding" ("the finality clause").

Appellant claimed in the district court that an earlier arbitration award already had resolved the issues raised in the present dispute which is the subject of appellee's cross petition to compel arbitration ("the present dispute") and therefore that the finality clause barred arbitration of the present dispute.

In granting appellee's cross petition to compel arbitration, the district court held that the CBA's broad arbitration clause encompassed the present dispute, including questions as to the applicability and effect of the finality clause.

On appeal, appellant claims that the district court erred in compelling arbitration since, by virtue of the finality clause, appellant had not agreed to arbitrate the present dispute.

We hold that the present dispute is arbitrable and that the CBA's broad arbitration clause leaves to the arbitrator, at least in the first instance, the task of determining both the extent to which the earlier arbitration award resolved the issues raised in the present dispute and the effect of the finality clause. We hold that the district court correctly granted the cross petition to compel arbitration.

I.

The facts are straightforward and not in dispute.

Appellant is a supplier of ready-mix concrete. It employees drivers to deliver concrete to construction sites throughout the New York metropolitan area. Appellee is a labor union.

We previously have set forth facts, relevant to the instant appeal, in an opinion enforcing an order of the National Labor Relations Board ("the NLRB") against appellee. NLRB v. Local 282 International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 740 F.2d 141 (2 Cir. 1984). We assume familiarity with that opinion. We shall summarize here only those additional facts believed necessary to an understanding of the issue raised on the instant appeal.

Appellant and appellee are parties to a CBA making appellee the exclusive bargaining representative of the drivers employed by appellant. That agreement sets forth a procedure for the settlement of disputes. Arbitrable disputes are submitted first to a joint Labor-Management Disputes Panel ("the Panel"), which acts as a "Board of Arbitration." Appellant and appellee each appoint an equal number of representatives to the Panel. In the event that the Panel is deadlocked, the dispute is submitted to an "impartial arbitrator". The impartial arbitrator is selected from a list set forth in an appendix to the CBA. The selection is by lot unless "the parties involved in the selection process . . . agree upon [an] alternate procedure for such selection."

The arbitration clause of the CBA sets forth the types of disputes that are arbitrable:

"Jurisdiction of the Panel. Any and all complaints, grievances, controversies or disputes between the Union [appellee] and the Employer [appellant] in connection with or in relation to this Agreement or concerning the interpretation, application, performance or alleged breach thereof by either of the parties hereto, or by any other party signatory to this industry-wide collective bargaining Agreement or with respect to any term or condition of employment hereunder, which the parties are unable to settle between them, may, except for disputes concerning discharge of or disciplinary action against an Employee, be submitted for arbitration and final determination to the [Panel]."

The CBA provides further that the impartial arbitrator "shall have all the powers granted to the Panel herein."

The finality clause is a "Miscellaneous Provision []" in the "Settlement of Disputes" section of the CBA. It provides:

"All determinations, decisions and awards shall be final, conclusive and binding upon the parties hereto and may be enforced as any other arbitration award in accordance with the laws of the State of New York."

On February 13, 1976, appellant purchased the assets of the Colonial Sand and Stone Company ("Colonial"), theretofore a rival ready-mix concrete supplier. At that time Colonial employed 237 drivers ("the Colonial drivers"); appellant employed 72 drivers ("appellant's drivers"). A CBA between appellee and ...


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