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Unique Woodworking, Inc. v. New York City District Council of Carpenters' Pension Fund

November 30, 2007

UNIQUE WOODWORKING, INC., PETITIONER,
v.
THE NEW YORK CITY DISTRICT COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS' PENSION FUND, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Conner, Senior D.J.

OPINION AND ORDER

ECF CASE

For an Order Pursuant to Article 75 of the CPLR Staying Arbitration of a Certain Controversy

Petitioner Unique Woodworking, Inc. ("Unique") commenced the present action against respondents the New York City District Council of Carpenters' Pension Fund, New York City District Council of Carpenters' Welfare Fund, New York City District Council of Carpenters' Vacation Fund, New York City District Council of Carpenters' Annuity Fund, New York City District Council of Carpenters' Apprenticeship Fund, New York City District Council of Carpenters' Charity Fund, New York City and Vicinity Carpenters' Labor-Management Corporation (the "Funds"), and Michael J. Forde and Paul O'Brien (the "Trustees"), seeking a Temporary Restraining Order and an order permanently enjoining the arbitration sought by the Funds and Trustees. Respondents oppose petitioner's motion and move to compel arbitration. We granted a Temporary Restraining Order on March 30, 2007 and now consider petitioner's request for permanent injunction. For the reasons discussed below, petitioner's motion to enjoin the arbitration is denied, and respondents' motion to compel arbitration is granted.

BACKGROUND

Unique is a small woodworking business in Mount Vernon, Westchester County employing both non-union and union workers. (Pet'r Mem. Supp. Order to Show Cause Staying Arbitration at 3.) Because it employs union members to perform work in New York City and on Long Island among other places, Unique is a party to an Independent Building Construction Agreement (the "Agreement"), dated July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2006, with the District Council of New York City and Vicinity of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (the "Union"). (Id. at 3; Gordon Aff., Ex. A.) The Funds are jointly administered Taft-Hartley Trusts established pursuant to Trust Agreements which are incorporated by reference into the collective bargaining agreements ("CBA") between the Union and employers, such as the Agreement with Unique. (Resp'ts Mem. Resp. Mot. Stay Arbitration at 2-3.)

The Agreement contains the following relevant provisions:

Article I

Objectives

[T]o insure the peaceable adjustment and settlement of any and all grievances, disputes or differences that may arise between the parties . . . .

Article VIII

Geographical Jurisdiction This Agreement shall cover work performed by Carpenter employees within the territorial jurisdiction of the District Council of New York City and Vicinity, which is as follows:

All of the five (5) Boroughs of the City of New York, all of the Islands in and all the waters of the adjacent Harbors, Rivers and Bays, ...


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