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Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local Union No. 83 Afl-Cio v. Sky Tech Construction

November 20, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: David R. Homer U.S. Magistrate Judge


Plaintiff Sheet Metal Workers Union International, Local Union No. 83 ("Union" or "Local 83") brought this action against Sky Tech Construction ("Sky Tech") under § 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 185(a), to enforce an arbitration award rendered pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA"). See Compl. (Docket No. 1). Presently pending is the Union's motion to enforce an arbitration award pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 81(a)(3) or, in the alternative, for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. Docket No. 17. Sky Tech opposes the motion. Docket No. 27. For the reasons which follow, the Union's motion is granted.

I. Background

The facts are presented in the light most favorable to Sky Tech as the non-moving party. See Ertman v. United States, 165 F. 3d 204, 206 (2d Cir. 1999).

Sky Tech was formed in 1990 by Donald Hagen ("Hagen"), its President and founder, and specializes in the installation of skylights. Hagen Dep. (Pozefsky Aff., Docket No. 17, Ex. A) at 10, 12. Sky Tech operates throughout the United States but is based in Milford, Texas. Id. at 10-12. In 1999, Hagen hired Michael Gay, a member of Local 83, to perform various jobs across the country. Id. at 18-20. Hagen signed the Union's agreement in order to provide coverage for employees through its benefit fund program. Id. at 40-45.

In 2004, Sky Tech contracted to install skylights in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Centro de Convention de Puerto Rico. Id. at 51-52. Sky Tech hired fifteen employees for the job, but eight were non-union and were paid at a rate below union scale. Id. at 53. On June 11, 2004, Wayne Peworchik ("Peworchik"), a representative from the Sheet Metal Workers International, discussed the Puerto Rico job with Hagen and informed him that the job was under the jurisdiction of Sheet Metal Workers Local 41 in San Juan. Id. at 55. Hagen failed to calculate union wages in determining the cost for the project and thus had to request additional funds from Center Sky Products ("Center Sky") in order to comply with the local union's wages, benefits, and working conditions. Id. at 55-58. On August 9, 2004, Hagen informed Peworchik that Center Sky would not provide him with any additional money and, thus, he would not be able to comply with the local union's requests. Id. at 58-59.

On September 8, 2004, Local 83 filed a grievance against Sky Tech with the Local Joint Adjustment Board ("LJAB") alleging that Sky Tech performed work outside Local 83's jurisdiction without applying the wages and working conditions of either the Local 83 or Local 41 agreements. Landau Aff. (Docket No. 17) at Ex. F. Prior to the hearing, Peworchik and Frank Parker ("Parker"), Executive Director of the Capital District Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association, contacted Hagen and advised him of the upcoming grievance proceeding. Hagen Dep. at 34, 38. However, Hagen informed Parker and Peworchik that he would probably not attend the hearing. Id. at 34-35, 38.

On December 29, 2004, the LJAB met to address the grievance filed by Local 83 against Sky Tech. Landau Aff. (Docket No. 17) at Ex. G. The LJAB noted that Hagen failed to attend, have a representative attend on his behalf, or submit any evidence to support his actions with regard to the CBA. Landau Aff. (Docket No. 17) at Ex. H. The LJAB concluded that Sky Tech was in violation of the CBA and assessed an award of $338,040.00. Id. By certified letter dated January 7, 2005, the LJAB sent Sky Tech notice of its decision. Id. Sky Tech refused to comply with the award but did not move to have the award vacated. Hagen Dep. at 33. This action followed.

II. Discussion

A. Standard

In actions brought under the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"), 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are superseded by the procedures used in the FAA.

See Fed. R. Civ. P. 81(a)(3) ("In proceedings under Title 9, U.S.C., relating to arbitration . . . [the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure] apply only to the extent that matters of procedure are not provided for in those statutes."). "The showing required to avoid summary confirmation of an arbitration award is high . . . and a party moving to vacate the award has the burden of proof." Willemijn Houdstermaatschappij, BV v. Standard Microsystems Corp., 103 F.3d 9, 12 (2d Cir. 1997) (citations omitted). Further, "'[a]rbitration awards are subject to very limited review in order to avoid undermining the twin goals of arbitration, namely, settling disputes efficiently and avoiding long and expensive litigation.'" Id. (quoting Folkways Music Publishers v. Weiss, 989 F.2d 108, 111 (2d Cir. 1993)). Thus, the district court's "'function in confirming or vacating an arbitration award is severely limited.'" Standard Microsystems, 103 F.3d at 12 (citation omitted).

A motion for summary judgment may be granted if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact if supported by affidavits or other suitable evidence and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The moving party has the burden to show the absence of disputed material facts by informing the court of portions of pleadings, depositions, and affidavits which support the motion. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Facts are material if they may affect the outcome of the case as determined by substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). All ambiguities are resolved and all reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the non-moving party. Skubel v. Fuoroli, 113 F.3d 330, 334 (2d Cir. 1997).

The party opposing the motion must set forth facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. The non-moving party must do more than merely show that there is some doubt or speculation as to the true nature of the facts. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). It must be apparent that no rational finder of fact could find in favor of the non-moving party for a court to grant a motion for summary judgment. Gallo v. ...

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