Appeal from two separate orders of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Lasker, J.) (1) vacating two arbitration awards and corresponding permanent injunctions because the dispute between two local plumbers unions over trade line jurisdiction was non-arbitrable under their international union's constitution, and (2) granting summary judgment to the defendants because the actions of the international union's president were not in bad faith and because the interpretation of the international's constitution was not patently unreasonable. Affirmed.
Lumbard, Kearse, and Altimari, Circuit Judges.
These two appeals involve companion questions about a decision of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing Industry of the United States and Canada, AFL-CIO ("United Association" or "UA"), to award the exclusive right to perform certain work to one of its affiliated local unions, pipefitters Local 638, to the exclusion of other member unions, Plumbers Locals 1, 2 and 371.
In the first appeal, The Association of Contracting Plumbers of the City of New York, Inc. and the Contracting Plumbers Association of Greater New York, Inc. (collectively the "Associations" or "Employer Associations"), appeal from an order of Judge Morris E. Lasker, Southern District of New York, dated July 8, 1987, vacating in two cases, arbitration awards and permanent injunctions issued by Judge Cannella of the Southern District and Judge McLaughlin of the Eastern District.*fn1 The Employer Associations represent plumbing contractors in the New York City metropolitan area. Each Association has a collective bargaining agreement with one of the New York City area plumbers union locals: The Association of Contracting Plumbers of the City of New York represents plumbing contractors in Manhattan and the Bronx (the "MH Association") and collectively bargains with Local 2, while the Contracting Plumbers Association of Greater New York represents contractors in Brooklyn and Queens (the "BQ Association") and collectively bargains with Local 1.*fn2 In November of 1986, each Association entered into arbitration with its respective local union to determine whether their collective bargaining agreements required members of the New York Locals to continue performing work which the UA (their international union) had determined fell within the work jurisdiction of another of its affiliated unions, pipefitters Local 638. Judge Lasker concluded that, because the UA Constitution reserves to the UA the exclusive right to determine work jurisdiction between its member unions, trade line (or work) jurisdiction is a non-arbitrable issue under the collective bargaining agreements between the Employer Associations and the Locals.
In the second case, Locals 1 and 2 were joined by another plumbers union, Local 371, in directly challenging the procedure employed by the UA in determining that the disputed work belonged to Local 638. On January 8, 1988, Judge Lasker granted summary judgment to the defendants (the UA, Local 638 and the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York (the "MCA")) because he determined that no genuine issue of material fact existed and that the UA's procedure under its interpretation of its own Constitution was not patently unreasonable or unlawful.
We agree with Judge Lasker. Accordingly, we affirm the respective orders of the district court (1) vacating the arbitration awards and injunctions, and (2) granting summary judgment to the UA, Local 638, and the MCA.
Basically this case concerns a longstanding dispute between Locals 1 and 2, and 638 of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry. Locals 1 and 2 represent plumbers, while Local 638 represents steamfitters (or pipefitters) in the New York City metropolitan area. In what is not an uncommon occurrence, the plumbers and pipefitters both claim the exclusive right to perform a certain type of work--in this case, to install combination standpipe-sprinkler risers*fn3 in New York City buildings.
The plumbers and pipefitters unions have a long history of trade line jurisdiction disputes. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, two international unions claimed national jurisdiction over the plumbing and pipefitting trades. The International Association of Steamfitters represented steamfitters while the United Association claimed to represent both steamfitters and plumbers. This overlap in jurisdiction claims led to a series of bitter disputes between the local unions affiliated with each international. See generally Segal, The Rise of the United Association: National Unionism in the Pipe Trades, 1884-1924 Chapters 1-2 (Harvard University Press 1970).
The American Federation of Labor intervened, suspended the International Association's charter, and eventually forced the two international unions to merge to form the UA. As part of this merger, plumber and pipefitter local unions in each city had to agree to explicit work jurisdiction designations. The New York City area locals were the last to conform. Finally, after the intervention of the general president of the UA, they agreed on their respective work jurisdictions. This agreement, known as the 1914 Tradeline Agreement, provided that:
All sprinkler systems, including all fire standpipes connected thereto, shall be installed, complete, by the Steam Fitter, excepting, only, that the Plumber shall set the meter and do all piping from the meter to the water supply main to the street.
All fire standpipes not connected with the sprinkler system, nor with the [w]ater supply of the sprinkler system, shall be the work of the Plumber.
In anticipation of continuing jurisdictional disputes, the UA Constitution reserved to the UA "the right to decide all matters pertaining to trade and territorial jurisdiction of its affiliated Local Unions . . . ." Pursuant to this provision, the UA granted to Local 638 trade jurisdiction over the pipefitting phase of the industry for the five boroughs of New York City and the counties of Nassau and Suffolk. To Local 1, the UA granted jurisdiction over plumbing work in Kings and Queens Counties, and to Local 2, jurisdiction over plumbing work in the Bronx and Manhattan.
Until 1973, the New York City Building Code required the installation of both "standpipes" and "sprinkler risers"*fn4 in new buildings. Traditionally, Locals 1 and 2 installed all standpipes and Local 638 installed sprinklers. New York City Local Law 5 of 1973 amended the building code to permit the installation of combination standpipe-sprinkler risers. This precipitated the dispute between Local 638 and Locals 1 and 2 over who should install the combination standpipe-sprinkler risers. Due to court challenges to Local Law 5 and the normal time lag between the creation ...