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Local Union No. 210 v. McKinney Drilling Co.

November 10, 2009

LOCAL UNION NO. 210, LABORERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, AFL-CIO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MCKINNEY DRILLING COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Richard J. Arcara Chief Judge United States District Court

DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Laborers International Union of North America, Local 210 ("Local 210") filed suit against Defendant McKinney Drilling Company ("McKinney") on December 11, 2008, as an action for breach of the collective bargaining agreement between the two parties ("Local 210 CBA"). Defendant McKinney filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on February 2, 2009.

The matter was referred to Magistrate Judge McCarthy pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636. Magistrate Judge McCarthy converted McKinney's motion into a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(d). Thereafter, Local 210 filed a motion to amend the complaint. On June 24, 2009, Magistrate Judge McCarthy filed a report and recommendation, recommending that the matter be dismissed for lack of standing, that the motion to dismiss be denied as moot, and that the motion for leave to amend be denied.

Local 210 filed objections to the report and recommendation and McKinney filed a response. On September 17, 2009, the Court held limited oral argument on the objections. For the reasons stated, the Court declines to adopt the report and recommendation, grants summary judgment in favor of McKinney, and denies Local 210's motion to amend as futile.

BACKGROUND

McKinney is a signatory to a collective bargaining agreement with Local 210. McKinney is also a signatory to a collective bargaining agreement with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local 289 ("Carpenters' Union"). McKinney is bound by the terms of both agreements. Since early 2008, Local 210 and the Carpenters' Union have been in a jurisdictional dispute over which union has jurisdiction to perform certain caisson work involving the use of pipes.

Caisson work involves drilling deep foundations for various structures. This is done by drilling a hole with an auger 35 to 55 feet into the ground and filling the hole with concrete and rebar to create a solid foundation. Generally, when McKinney bids on jobs that involve caisson work, soil borings have already been taken from the job site. These soil borings indicate what type of soil, rock or other material will need to be drilled through. If the soil borings show that the soil is soft, wet, or otherwise unstable, the caisson work is performed by drilling a steel pipe into the ground as the soil is being drilled to maintain the stability of the walls of the hole so that the drilling can be completed to the appropriate depth without collapse.

In situations where a pipe needs to be used while drilling a caisson, McKinney has always assigned the disputed work to the Carpenters. On the other hand, if the soil borings indicate that the ground is hard and stable, no pipe needs to be used to ensure the stability of the hole. Basically, that work consists of drilling a hole and filling it with concrete. In situations where no pipe is used, McKinney has always used Laborers Local 210 to complete the task.

This jurisdictional dispute began in January 2008, when McKinney was awarded two separate jobs involving drilling caissons at the Ford Stamping Plant in Woodlawn, New York, and the NRG Energy Huntley Plant in Tonawanda, New York. McKinney determined that the soil at these two locations would require the use of steel pipes for reinforcement, and awarded the work at both locations to the Carpenters' Union.

On or about January 29, 2008, Sam Capitano, business agent for Local 210, contacted McKinney to express his dissatisfaction with the use of the Carpenters' Union's members to complete the work at the Huntley and Ford Plants. When the matter could not be resolved, Local 210 sought to arbitrate the issue of whether the work should be awarded to Local 210.

McKinney then commenced a proceeding in this Court seeking a permanent stay of arbitration. See Constr. Industry Employers Association and McKinney Drilling Company v. Local 210, 08-CV-260A (hereinafter "McKinney I"). Local 210 opposed the stay and argued that: (1) the dispute was not jurisdictional in nature; and (2) an arbitrator, not this Court, should decide the issue of whether the dispute at issue was jurisdictional.

On August 20, 2008, this Court issued a Decision and Order granting McKinney's request for a permanent stay of arbitration upon finding that the dispute was jurisdictional in nature and that under the relevant collective bargaining agreements, caissons work involving steel pipes belonged to the Carpenters' Union. See Decision and Order in McKinney I, Dkt. 13, at 11.

Local 210 appealed this Court's decision in McKinney I and on September 11, 2009, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed this Court's ruling. See Constr. Industry Employers Association and McKinney Drilling ...


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