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WACKENHUT CORP. v. INTERNATIONAL UNION

September 6, 1996

THE WACKENHUT CORPORATION, Plaintiff, against INTERNATIONAL UNION, UNITED PLANT GUARD WORKERS OF AMERICA and AMALGAMATED LOCAL 515, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SPRIZZO

 SPRIZZO, D.J.:

 Pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 185(c), and 9 U.S.C. § 10, plaintiff Wackenhut Corporation ("Wackenhut") filed the instant action seeking vacatur of an arbitration award. Defendants International Union, United Plant Guard Workers of America, Amalgamated Local 515 counterclaimed to enforce that arbitration award. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), defendants move for summary judgment, and plaintiff cross-moves for summary judgment.

 BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff Wackenhut is a Florida corporation which contracted to provide security services at a Consolidated Edison Company ("Con Ed") nuclear power facility located in Indian Point, New York (the "facility"). Compl. P 2. Defendants International Union, United Plant Guard Workers of America and Amalgamated Local 515 (collectively, the "union") are local and international chapters of the union which represents security officers. Id. P 3. In 1990, Wackenhut and the union entered into a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") governing the employment of all Wackenhut full-time and part-time security officers and watchpersons at the Indian Point facility from March 5, 1990 through March 7, 1993. Id. P 6. Pursuant to the CBA, Wackenhut and the union agreed to arbitrate employee disputes concerning the terms of the agreement after the exhaustion of internal procedures. Id. P 7; CBA, art. VII, § 6 at 11.

 Wackenhut maintains the security services at Indian Point. Affidavit of Adin C. Goldberg Sworn to August 5, 1994 ("Goldberg Aff.") P 3. However, Con Ed, as owner of the facility, ultimately controls all employee access to the facility pursuant to, inter alia, Nuclear Regulatory Commission ("NRC") regulations. Id. As a result, all Wackenhut employees are subject to Con Ed's decisions regarding site access and clearance. Id.

 On August 21, 1992, Con Ed learned of an alleged tampering with shotguns used by security personnel at the facility. Compl. P 10. During an investigation of the incident, a Con Ed employee questioned Fernando T. Coelho, a security guard employed by Wackenhut at the facility. Id. Although Con Ed never suspected Coelho of tampering with the shotguns, Coelho's responses led Con Ed to conclude that he could not be trusted to perform his job properly. Goldberg Aff. P 7.

 On August 22, 1992, Con Ed revoked Coelho's site access. Compl. P 12. Because site access was a prerequisite to employment, the revocation effectively ended Coelho's employment at the facility. Goldberg Aff. PP 11, 12. Thereafter, Wackenhut placed Coelho on suspension from the facility and unsuccessfully sought Con Ed's reconsideration of the decision to revoke his site access. Compl. P 12.

 On September 10, 1992, Wackenhut discharged Coelho pursuant to a provision of the CBA entitled "management rights," which allowed Wackenhut to "relieve [an] employee[] from duty . . . at client request." CBA, art. III, § 1 at 3; Goldberg Aff. P 8. Specifically, the CBA provides, in pertinent part:

 
included among management rights is the authority to administer and/or manage the Company's business, including but not limited to the direction of the working force; the right to hire, discipline[,] suspend or discharge employees for just cause, [and] to relieve employees from duty because of lack of work or at client request . . . .

 CBA, art. III, § P at 3.

 On September 17, 1993, Arbitrator Light issued a decision holding that Wackenhut's termination of Coelho violated the terms of the CBA. Arb. Award at 11, 13. The arbitrator awarded Coelho full back pay and benefits through the date of the arbitration award. Id. at 11. In addition, the arbitrator directed Wackenhut to renew its efforts to persuade Con Ed to reinstate Coelho's security clearance and, failing that, to reinstate his employment at another facility in a "comparable employment within a reasonable geographic area." Id.; Compl. P 9.

 On December 15, 1993, Wackenhut filed the instant action seeking to vacate the arbitration award on the grounds that, inter alia, 1) the arbitrator exceeded his authority under the CBA, and 2) the arbitrator improperly deviated from two prior arbitration decisions in rendering his opinion. Compl. PP 16-17, 26, 31, 39-40. As stated above, defendants counterclaimed to enforce the ...


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