petition to compel multiparty arbitration and also denying Iron's motion for summary judgment compelling bilateral arbitration.
In essence, there are currently four motions pending before the Court. Active moves to compel multiparty arbitration and to stay bilateral arbitration with Iron; Iron moves to compel bilateral arbitration; and Carpenters and Glaziers move to dismiss all arbitration.
I. Arbitration Agreement Between Iron and Active
A. The Standard
The threshold question before this Court is whether an arbitration agreement was entered into between Iron and Active that encompasses the instant dispute. Absent such an agreement, neither multiparty nor bilateral arbitration is proper. "The Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§ 1 et seq. (1988), requires the federal courts to enforce arbitration agreements, reflecting Congress' recognition that arbitration is to be encouraged as a means of reducing the costs and delays associated with litigation."
Deloitte Noraudit A/S v. Deloitte Haskins & Sells, 9 F.3d 1060, 1063 (2d Cir. 1993). "In determining the arbitrability of a particular dispute, a court must decide 'whether the parties agreed to arbitrate, and, if so, whether the scope of that agreement encompasses the asserted claims.'" Progressive Casualty Ins. Co. v. C.A. Reaseguradora Nacional de Venezuela, 991 F.2d 42, 45 (2d Cir. 1993) (quoting David Threlkeld & Co. v. Metallgesellschaft Ltd., 923 F.2d 245, 249 (2d Cir. 1993)). Further, "'"the Act leaves no place for the exercise of discretion by a district court, but instead mandates that district courts shall direct the parties to proceed to arbitration on issues as to which an arbitration agreement has been signed."'" McDonnell Douglas Finance Corp. v. Pennsylvania Power & Light Co., 858 F.2d 825, 830 (2d Cir. 1988) (emphasis in original) (quoting Genesco, Inc. v. T. Kakiuchi & Co. 815 F.2d 840, 844 (2d Cir. 1987) (quoting Dean Witter Reynolds Inc. v. Byrd, 470 U.S. 213, 218, 84 L. Ed. 2d 158, 105 S. Ct. 1238 (1985))).
Courts will not force parties into arbitration when it was clearly not their intention to place a given matter under the province of an arbitration agreement. See Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Consolidated Edison Co. 872 F.2d 534, 537 (2d Cir. 1989). This Court has stated that "it is fundamental that arbitration agreements are creatures of contract law." Scher v. Bear Stearns and Co., 723 F. Supp. 211, 214 (S.D.N.Y. 1989). Thus, "the first task of a court asked to compel arbitration of a dispute is to determine whether the parties agreed to arbitrate that dispute. . . . As with any other contract, the parties' intentions control, but those intentions are generously construed as to issues of arbitrability." Mitsubishi Motors Corp. v. Soler Chrysler-Plymouth, Inc., 473 U.S. 614, 626, 87 L. Ed. 2d 444, 105 S. Ct. 3346 (1985).
Once a court has determined that an arbitration clause exists, "any doubts concerning the scope of arbitrable issues should be resolved in favor of arbitration, whether the problem at hand is the construction of the contract language itself or an allegation of waiver, delay, or a like defense to arbitrability." Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital v. Mercury Construction Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 24-25, 74 L. Ed. 2d 765, 103 S. Ct. 927 (1983). In fact, "the existence of an arbitration clause in [an agreement] raises a presumption of arbitrability that can be overcome only if 'it may be said with positive assurance that the arbitration clause is not susceptible of an interpretation that covers the asserted dispute. Doubts should be resolved in favor of coverage.'" Associated Brick Mason Contractors, Inc. v. Harrington, 820 F.2d 31, 35 (2d Cir. 1987) (quoting AT&T Technologies, Inc. v. Communications Workers of America, 475 U.S. 643, 650, 89 L. Ed. 2d 648, 106 S. Ct. 1415 (1986)); see also Kerr-McGee Refining Corp. v. M/T Triumph, 924 F.2d 467, 469 (2d Cir. 1991).
B. The Existence of an Agreement to Arbitrate
The duty to arbitrate arises from the CBA entered into between Iron and Active. Article XXII of Iron Union's CBA with Active provides in pertinent part:
(a) Any grievance, complaint or dispute between the Union and the Employer arising out of this Agreement, or as to the meaning, interpretation, application or alleged violation of any provision or provisions of this Agreement shall be handled in the first instance by an officer of the Union designated by the Union and a representative of the Employer involved who is a member of the Association.