The opinion of the court was delivered by: MIRIAM GOLDMAN CEDARBAUM
Plaintiff The Trustees of Columbia University ("Columbia") sues Local 1199, Drug, Hospital and Health Care Employees Union, RWDSU, AFL-CIO ("Local 1199"), a labor organization in New York City, for breach of a no-strike clause in their collective bargaining agreement. Local 1199 moves to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) and (6) on the ground that Columbia is precluded from litigating its dispute with the Union in court because in the collective bargaining agreement the parties have designated arbitration as the exclusive means of resolving disputes. Local 1199 also moves for sanctions against Columbia pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 11. For the reasons discussed below, defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint is granted, and defendant's motion for Rule 11 sanctions is denied.
Local 1199 represents approximately 500 employees of Columbia under a collective bargaining agreement that is effective from January 1, 1990 through December 31, 1992 ("the Agreement"). Columbia alleges that on November 14, 1991, its Local 1199 employees engaged in a strike in violation of the Agreement's no-strike clause. (Ratner Aff., Ex. A, P 7.) Columbia filed this suit for damages and injunctive relief pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185(a) (1947).
The pertinent language of the Agreement provides as follows:
1. A grievance shall be defined as a dispute or complaint arising between the parties hereto under or out of this Agreement or the interpretation, application, performance, termination, or any alleged breach thereof, and shall be processed and disposed of in the following manner:
Within a reasonable time (except as provided in Article XXVII), an Employee having a grievance and/or his/her Union Delegate or other representative shall take it up with his/her immediate supervisor. The employer shall give its answer to the Employee and/or his/her Union Delegate or other representative within five (5) working days after the presentation of the grievance.
If the grievance is not settled in Step 1, the grievance may, within five (5) working days after the answer in Step 1, be presented in Step 2. When grievances are presented in Step 2, they shall be reduced to writing indicating the facts and nature of the grievance; signed by the grievant and his/her Union's representative, and presented to the grievant's department head or his/her designee. A grievance so presented in Step 2 shall be answered by the Department Head in writing within five (5) working days after its presentation.
If the grievance is not settled in Step 2, the grievance may, within five (5) working days after the answer in Step 2, be presented in Step 3. A grievance shall be presented in this step to the Director of Employee Relations or his/her representative and the Director of Employee Relations or his/her representative shall render a decision in writing ...