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1199Seiu United Healthcare Workers East v. South Bronx Mental Health Council Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

February 14, 2014



DEBRA FREEMAN, Magistrate Judge.

Pursuant to Section 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.c. § 185(a), and Section 9 of the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"), 9 U.S.C. § 9, petitioner 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East ("Petitioner" or "1199") has petitioned this Court to confirm an arbitration award issued against South Bronx Mental Health Council, Inc. ("Respondent" or "SBMH"). Respondent has not answered or otherwise appeared in this proceeding, and this matter has been referred to me for the purpose of conducting a damages inquest, following entry by the Court of a default judgment against Respondent. ( See Dkts. 18, 19.)

For the sake of clarity and in accordance with the law discussed further below, I recommend that Petitioner's unanswered motion to confirm the arbitration award (Dkt. 9) be treated as an unopposed motion for summary judgment, and that judgment be entered against Respondent in the amount of $1, 465, 315.34, with pre-judgment interest of nine percent, to be calculated by the Clerk of the Court from the date of the arbitration award to the date of judgment. I further recommend that Petitioner's application for $495.00 in litigation costs incurred in the prosecution of this action be granted, but that Petitioner's application for attorneys' fees be denied without prejudice to renew, upon a showing that the fees sought were actually incurred in connection with this litigation.


A. Factual Background

As set out in the Petition, together with Petitioner's Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and supporting Affidavit, [1] the events that gave rise to this action may be summarized as follows:

Petitioner is a labor organization within the meaning of Section 2(5) of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 152(5), and is the sole and exclusive bargaining representative of all of Respondent's employees, excluding supervisory, confidential, executive and managerial employees (the "Employees"). (Pet. ¶¶ 2, 9.) Respondent is a New-York-based, not-for-profit corporation and employer within the meaning of Section 2(2) of the NLRA, 29 U.S.C. § 152(2), and is a member of the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes of New York (the "LVH"), which acts as the agent of its member institutions in collective bargaining with Petitioner. (Pet. ¶¶ 3, 6; Proposed Findings ¶ 3.)

Petitioner and LVH are parties to a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA"), which was extended by a memorandum of agreement ("MOA") effective June 1, 2009 through April 30, 2015. ( See Pet. ¶ 7 & Exs. A (Collective Bargaining Agreement between 1199 and LVH, dated July 1, 2007 through Sept. 30, 2011), B (1199/LVH Memorandum of Agreement, dated July 19, 2009).) In February 2013, Petitioner and LVH entered into an agreement modifying the MOA (the "Pension Lump Sum Agreement"). ( Id. ¶ 7 & Ex. C (Pension Lump Sum Agreement, dated Feb. 2013).) As a member of LVH, Respondent is bound by the terms of the CBA, MOA, and the Pension Lump Sum Agreement. ( Id. ¶ 8.)

1. The Collective Bargaining Agreement

The CBA sets out, inter alia, specific guidelines for calculating Employees' vacations, holidays, and rights in the event of a demotion or layoff. With respect to vacations, Article XVI of the CBA provides that:

1. Employees shall be entitled to accrued vacations each year with pay as follows:
(a) For Employees in technical and professional job classifications, except MSW Social Workers:

(d) For all other Employees:

Period of Continuous Amount of Employment Paid Vacation Less than 6 months None 6 months but less than 1 year 1 week 1 year but less than 5 years 2 weeks 5 years or more 4 weeks

( Id. ¶ 11 & Ex. A, at 68.)

Article XV of the CBA, entitled "Holidays, " provides that "[e]mployees shall be entitled to a total of twelve (12) paid holidays within each year, " subject to certain restrictions, including that "[i]f a holiday falls within an Employee's first thirty (30) days of employment, then such Employer shall receive pay for the holiday only upon completion of twelve (12) months of employment." ( See id. ¶ 12 & Ex. A, at 66.)

Employees' entitlement to severance pay is outlined in Article XXI of the CBA, which states that:

Employees with one (1) or more years of bargaining unit seniority, who are permanently laid off, or who are temporarily laid off in excess of seven (7) days, shall receive severance pay at the rate of one (1) weeks pay for each year of their bargaining unit seniority, pro-rated, up to a maximum of four (4) weeks pay, at his/her regular pay in effect at the time of such layoff, provided that the amount of severance pay shall not exceed the regular pay the

Employee would have earned during the period of the layoff. ( Id. ¶ 13 & Ex. A, at 75.) In addition, Article IXA(B)(5)(a) of the CBA instructs that "[i]nstitutions which, for economic or other reasons must retrench Employees in any title represented by the Union agree to provide thirty (30) days notice." ( Id. ¶ 14 & Ex. A, at 30.) Under the CBA, the parties agreed to submit to arbitration any dispute relating to the CBA that was unresolved after 30 days. ( Id. Ex. A, at Arts. XXXI, XXXII.)

2. The Memorandum of Agreement and Pension Lump Sum Agreement

The MOA and Pension Lump Sum Agreement between Petitioner and LVH outline certain amendments to the CBA. As relevant here, pursuant to Article 3(D)(1), the MOA provides that:

Effective with the first payroll period following August 1, 2012, each fulltime Employee on the payroll, on that date and who was employed ninety (90) days prior to that date; shall receive a lump sum payment equal to two and one half percent (2.51%) of his/her base weekly rate in effect on the day prior to the effective date.
The payment shall be prorated for part-time Employees based on the average hours actually worked during the foregoing ninety (90) day period (or the ninety (90) day period referred to in paragraph 3.D.3 below, where applicable).

( Id. ¶ 15 & Ex. B, at 2.) Similarly, the Pension Lump Sum Agreement provides that

Effective with the first payroll following April 1, 2013, the Employer shall make a lump sum payment to each employee which is equal to 1.77% of the gross wages that it reported to the NPF for each employee for the four monthly contributions beginning with the December, 2012 contribution (based on November, 2012 wages) through the March, 2013 contribution (based on February, 2013 wages).

( Id. ¶ 16 & Ex. C, at 1 (emphasis ...

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