The opinion of the court was delivered by: MUKASEY
MICHAEL B. MUKASEY, U.S.D.J.
The following facts, taken from the parties' submissions, are relevant to the petition to confirm: the Union is an unincorporated labor organization composed of approximately 25,000 members, each of whom is employed in the hotel industry in New York City. (Petition P 1) St. George is a hotel corporation organized under the laws of the State of New York with its principal place of business in Brooklyn, New York. (Id. P 2)
The Union and St. George are parties to a collective-bargaining agreement (the "Agreement") which contains provisions regulating wages, hours, and working conditions for union employees. (Id. P 3) The Agreement also contains an arbitration clause which provides, in relevant part, as follows:
SECTION 26: COMPLAINTS, GRIEVANCES & ARBITRATION
All complaints, disputes or grievances arising between the parties hereto involving questions or interpretation or application of any clause of this agreement, or any acts conduct or relations between the parties, directly or indirectly, which shall not have been adjusted by and between the parties involved shall be referred to a permanent umpire to be known as the Impartial Chairman, and his decision shall be final and binding upon the parties hereto . . .
The decision rendered by the Impartial Chairman shall have the effect of a judgment entered upon an award made, as provided by the Arbitration Laws of the State of New York, entitling the entry of a judgment in a court of competent jurisdiction against the defaulting party who fails to carry out or abide by such decision.
(Id. P 5) The arbitration clause provides also that either party may proceed ex parte before the Impartial Chairman if the other fails to appear after receiving proper notice of a hearing date. (Id. PP 6-7)
In February 1993, the Union filed a complaint with the Office of the Impartial Chairman alleging that St. George was in violation of certain provisions of the Agreement. (Gringer Aff. Ex. A) On February 22, 1993, the Office of the Impartial Chairman sent a letter to St. George indicating that a hearing had been scheduled to examine the following allegations against the hotel: "Unjust layoff of all front office clerks; Management doing work of laid off employees; Failure to notify union of layoff; Failure to put employees on check-off." (Id.)
On May 5, 1993, a hearing was held on the Union's complaint before Impartial Chairman Philip Ross (the "Arbitrator"). (Gringer Aff. P 5) Both parties appeared at the May 1993 hearing and each was represented by counsel. At the hearing, the Union presented evidence that St. George had been permitting non-union workers to perform front desk duties at the hotel ever since three union employees -- Helen Chan, Audrey Day, and Anthony Moore -- were laid off by the hotel in February 1993. (Id. Ex. C. at 3) On June 28, 1993, the Arbitrator issued a written opinion and award (the "1993 Award") sustaining the Union's complaint "in its entirety," and ordering St. George to reinstate the three employees and to give them back pay as of the date of the award. (Id. at 4)
On January 24, 1995, St. George appeared at the hearing and objected to the proceedings on the ground that the Office of the Impartial Chairman lacked jurisdiction to enforce the 1993 Award. (Id. Ex. E at 4) St. George argued also that because the Union did not petition to confirm the 1993 Award within one year, the award was unenforceable. (Id. at 6) In response, the Union argued that the Impartial Chairman had discretion to enforce the 1993 Award and requested an opportunity to brief the issue before a final decision was reached in the matter. (Id. at 7-8) The Arbitrator
granted the Union's request to submit papers and adjourned the hearing without setting a return date. (Id. at 9)
Precisely what happened to the Union's second complaint against St. George seeking enforcement of the 1993 Award is not clear from the record. There is no evidence that any further hearings were held in the matter; nor is there evidence that the Union withdrew its complaint or that it was dismissed by the Arbitrator.
However, it is clear from the record that on or about April 25, 1995, the Union filed a third complaint with the Office of the Impartial Chairman. (Petition P 4) That day, the Office of the Impartial Chairman notified St. George by letter that a hearing on the complaint had been scheduled for June 6, 1995. (Gringer Aff. Ex. I) The letter stated that the Union's complaint contained the following allegations against St. George: "Failure/refusal to abide by CBA [the Agreement]. Non-union employees doing bargaining unit work while ...