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Newspaper Guild/Cwa of Albany, Tng/Cwa, Afl-Cio-Clc v. Hearst Corporation

May 17, 2011

NEWSPAPER GUILD/CWA OF ALBANY, TNG/CWA, AFL-CIO-CLC, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
HEARST CORPORATION, DBA CAPITAL NEWSPAPER DIVISION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (Sharpe, J.), granting Plaintiff-Appellee's motion for summary judgment and denying Defendant- Appellant's cross-motion for summary judgment. This appeal calls upon us to decide whether the district court erred in concluding that the parties' dispute over "checkoff" of union dues is subject to arbitration pursuant to their expired collective-bargaining agreement. We hold that Plaintiff- Appellee's contractual right to checkoff of union dues survives expiration of the agreement, thus subjecting the parties' dispute to arbitration. For the reasons stated herein, the judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Katzmann, Circuit Judge:

(Argued: April 15, 2011 )

Before : SACK, KATZMANN, LOHIER, Circuit Judges.

Defendant-Appellant Hearst Corporation ("Hearst") appeals from a judgment of theUnited States District Court for the Northern District of New York (Sharpe, J.), entered on June 11, 2010, granting the motion of Plaintiff-Appellee Newspaper Guild ("the Guild") for summary judgment and denying Hearst's cross-motion for summary judgment. This appeal calls upon us to decide whether the district court erred in concluding that the parties' dispute over "checkoff" -- or deduction and remittance -- of union dues is subject to arbitration pursuant to their expired collective-bargaining agreement. As set forth below, we hold that the Guild's contractual right to checkoff of union dues survives expiration of the agreement, thus subjecting the parties' dispute to arbitration. For the reasons stated herein, the judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.

BACKGROUND

The facts of this case are not in dispute. The Guild is a labor organization that represents a bargaining unit of Hearst's employees. Hearst is a publisher of, among other things, the Albany Times Union and the Sunday Times Union, two newspapers of general circulation in Albany.

On December 1, 2005, the Guild and Hearst entered into a collective-bargaining agreement (the "CBA"), which, by its terms, was effective from August 1, 2004 to August 1, 2008. Section 10.E. of the CBA, which sets forth a procedure for resolving grievances between the parties, states in relevant part: "Any formal grievance involving the interpretation or application of this agreement may be submitted to final and binding arbitration." J.A. 67. Section 13, entitled "Dues Checkoff," provides:

Upon an employee's voluntary written assignment, the Company [Hearst] shall deduct weekly from the salary account of such employee and pay to the Guild on the fifteenth (15th) day of each month, but in no event later than the twentieth (20th), all membership dues levied by the Guild for the current month. Such membership dues shall be deducted from the employee's salary in accordance with a schedule furnished the Company by the Guild on the first (1st) day of each month. . . . An employee's voluntary written assignment shall remain effective in accordance with the terms of such assignments. All such deductions shall be made in conformity with local, state or federal legislation.

Such assignments shall be made upon the following form: To: Capital Newspapers Division - The Hearst Corporation I hereby assign to the Newspaper Guild of Albany, NY from any salary earned or to be earned by me as your employee, an amount equal to all membership dues lawfully levied against me by the Guild for each calendar month following the date of this assignment as certified by the treasurer of the Newspaper Guild of Albany, NY.

I hereby authorize and request you to check off and deduct such amounts during the month for which such dues are levied and the Guild so notifies you, from any salary then standing to my credit as your employee, and to remit the amount deducted to the Newspaper Guild of Albany, NY, not later than the twentieth (20th) day of that month.

This assignment and authorization shall remain in effect until revoked by me, but shall be irrevocable for a period of one (1) year from the date appearing below or until the termination of the collective bargaining agreement between yourself and the Guild whichever occurs sooner. I further agree and direct that this assignment and authorization shall be renewed automatically and shall be irrevocable for successive periods of one (1) year each or for the period of each succeeding applicable collective agreement between yourself and the Guild, whichever period shall be shorter, unless written notice of its revocation is given by me to yourself and to the Guild by registered mail not more than thirty (30) days and not less than fifteen (15) days prior to the expiration of each period of one (1) year, or of each applicable collective bargaining agreement between yourself and the Guild, whichever occurs sooner. Such notice of revocation shall become effective for the calendar month following the calendar month in which you receive it.

This assignment and authorization supersedes all previous assignments and authorization heretofore given to you by me in relation to my Guild membership dues.

Employee's Signature Date J.A. 76-77 (emphasis added).

In 2008, the parties agreed to extend the terms of the CBA pursuant to an interim agreement dated June 15, 2008, which was subject to termination by ...


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