The opinion of the court was delivered by: BLOCK
Plaintiffs Operative Plasterers & Cement Masons International Association and its affiliates ("Plasterers" or "Local 530") seek a court order requiring that defendants International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades and its affiliates ("Painters" or "Local 1486") submit to arbitration in accordance with the Plan for the Settlement of Jurisdictional Disputes in the Construction Industry ("National Plan"). Specifically, the Plasterers allege that Local 1486 is performing drywall finishing work known as "skimcoating" at the Nordstrom's Department Store construction project ("Nordstrom's Project") now in progress at Roosevelt Field, Long Island, and that accepting such work constituted a violation of Local 530's "jurisdiction," i.e., entitlement to perform certain work tasks. The Plasterers further contend that Local 1486 has agreed to arbitrate this jurisdictional dispute, and that this Court should therefore enter an order requiring arbitration.
(1) the employer, Island Taping, is not stipulated to the National Plan; (2) both unions in this dispute are affiliated with the National Plan; (3) both the Plasterers and Island Taping have agreed to be bound by the New York Plan; and (4) if Local 1486 is affiliated with the New York Plan, then all parties to this dispute are bound by the New York Plan, and consequently, all parties are bound to arbitrate under the National Plan on appeal from the New York Board's refusal to arbitrate. Accordingly, the Court must hold a hearing to determine de novo whether Local 1486 is affiliated with the New York Plan; if they are, then the present dispute is arbitrable under the National Plan.
Id at *5. Accordingly, the Court held a hearing on February 10, 1997 to receive testimonial and documentary evidence on this issue.
At the hearing, the Plasterers argued that Local 1486 is contractually bound to arbitrate before the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York ("New York Board"), which administers the New York Plan for the Settlement of Jurisdictional Disputes ("New York Plan"). This agreement to arbitrate allegedly arises from a collective bargaining agreement ("the CBA") signed by the contractor, Island Taping, and defendant District Council 9 ("DC 9"). DC 9 is an umbrella organization that represents the Painters' local unions in the New York City metropolitan area. Prior to January 1995, DC 9 only represented local unions in the five boroughs of New York City. As of that date, several affiliation agreements between DC 9 and local unions in the New York metropolitan area took effect, expanding DC 9's representation to include local unions in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties.
One such affiliation agreement was executed between DC 9 and Local 1486 on December 22, 1994 ("Affiliation Agreement").
The Affiliation Agreement opens by stating that "Local Union # 1486 wishes to directly affiliate with District Council 9." Throughout the Affiliation Agreement, Local 1486 delegates authority and resources to DC 9, including: (1) Local 1486 trust funds are to be integrated with DC 9 trust funds; (2) DC 9 is given full authority to act as Local 1486's collective bargaining representative; (3) except for $ 20,000, all other assets of Local 1486 are transferred to DC 9; (4) Local 1486 agrees to be bound by all DC 9 bylaws; and (5) all Local 1486 members are now permitted to work anywhere in DC 9's jurisdiction, and DC 9 members are permitted to work in Local 1486's jurisdiction. See Affiliation Agreement PP1-5. In keeping with this broad absorption of Local 1486 into DC 9, Robert Capaldo ("Capaldo"), President of Local 1486, became President of DC 9 in June of 1995, and helped negotiate the CBA.
The Plasterers focus on Article XXIV of the CBA, entitled "Jurisdictional Disputes." Article XXIV provides, in pertinent part: "Disputes between Trades and disputes relative to jurisdiction of Trades . . . shall be adjusted in accordance with the principles of the New York Plan . . . ." Pl. Exh. 1 at 43. The Plasterers argue that this language unambiguously requires all local unions affiliated with DC 9, including Local 1486, to arbitrate jurisdictional disputes pursuant to the New York Plan. At the hearing, the Plasterers summarized their position as follows:
THE COURT: 1486 is part of District Council 9. We weren't focused on District Council 9 for purposes of our initial decision. Now, by some process of absorption, since 1486 is part of District Council 9 and District Council 9 is part of the National Plan, that's pretty much how it works.
[PLASTERERS]: Affiliated with the New York Plan and, therefore, everybody was essentially obligated to appear at the New York Plan to resolve this and then ...