United States District Court, E.D. New York
LOCAL UNION NO. 1 OF THE UNITED ASSOCIATION OF JOURNEYMEN & APPRENTICES OF THE PLUMBING & PIPEFITTING INDUSTRY OF THE UNITED STATES & CANADA, by MICHAEL APUZZO, as Financial Secretary-Treasurer, Petitioner,
P.A.C. HEATING, INC., d/b/a/ P.A.C. PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING, Respondent.
OPINION & ORDER
GERSHON United States District Judge
Union No. 1 of the United Association of Journeyman and
Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the
United States and Canada (the "Union" or
"petitioner") brings this action to confirm a labor
arbitration award of February 5, 2015 in the amount of $67,
500 (the "Award") against P.A.C. Plumbing, Heating
& Air Conditioning ("PAC" or
"respondent"). It now moves for summary judgment to
confirm the award pursuant to Section 301 of the Labor
Management Relations Act ("LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. §
185. Respondent opposes this motion and moves for summary
judgment seeking that the arbitration award be vacated. For
the reasons set forth below, I grant petitioner's motion
to confirm the award and deny respondent's motion to
historical facts are undisputed. The Union is a labor
organization that is the exclusive bargaining agent for all
journey-level plumbers and apprentices employed by employers
that are members of the Association of Contracting Plumbers
of New York City, Inc. (the "Association"). PAC was
a member of the Association until August 29, 2012, at which
time the Association terminated its membership. The
Association informed the Union of PAC's termination on
September 17, 2012. After receiving this notice from the
Association, the Union wrote PAC on September 24, 2012
informing it that, "since you are no longer a signatory
contractor with the [Association], it is necessary for you to
sign the enclosed [Agreement]." Pet. Ex. E. at 9.
to this case are three collective bargaining agreements
between the Union and the Association, which it negotiated on
behalf of its members ("Agreements"). The first is
referred to as the "A-Agreement, " which was in
effect from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2016. The other two
are referred to as the "MES Agreements." The first
MES Agreement was in effect from October 1, 2010 through
September 30, 2013. The second MES Agreement was in effect
from October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2016.
Agreements provide that they continue in full force and
effect during their terms and that an entity wishing to
abrogate any of the Agreements must notify the Association
and the Union 180 days prior to the expiration date of the
Agreement. PAC did not send a request to abrogate the
Agreements until December 31, 2014.
to the Agreements, disputes and controversies arising out of
the Agreements are referred to an arbitration committee
comprised of an equal number of members appointed by the
Union and the Association. According to the Union, PAC did
not comply with certain provisions of the Agreements,
including its failure to: post a bond; obtain green cards on
jobs performed; hire only union laborers; pay fringe benefit
contributions; and use the proper ratio of journeymen to
December 16, 2014, the Union requested arbitration, and PAC
was notified on January 7, 2015 that the arbitration hearing
would be held on January 29, 2015. On January 9, 2015,
PAC's attorney objected to the arbitration. An
arbitration hearing was held on January 29, 2015, at which
the Union appeared, but PAC did not.
February 5, 2015, the arbitration committee issued its
written decision (the "Decision"). It found that
PAC was bound by the Agreements because it did not request to
abrogate them until December of 2014. In reaching this
conclusion, the committee found that, though PAC's
membership in the Association had been terminated, that did
not occur until after the A-Agreement went into effect.
Therefore, PAC was bound by this A-Agreement and had to
abrogate it if it wanted to forgo its obligations, which it
did not do. As to the MES Agreements, the arbitration
committee concluded that PAC never requested to abrogate the
first MES Agreement, thus remaining bound, and that its
failure to abrogate the first MES Agreement also caused it to
be bound to the second MES Agreement. Also influencing the
committee's Decision was that PAC continued to submit
fringe benefit contributions to the Union throughout 2014,
which, according to the committee, demonstrated PAC's
intent to remain bound. Ultimately, the committee imposed a
fine of $67, 500 for various breaches of the Agreements, and
it directed PAC to pay this fine by March 1, 2015, which PAC
did not do. The Union then filed this petition to confirm the
arbitration award on February 2, 2016.
Summary Judgment Standard
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment is
appropriate if the movant demonstrates that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact, and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). "A dispute is
not genuine unless the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party."
Shiflett v. Scores Holding Co., Inc., 601 Fed.Appx.
28, 29 (2d Cir. 2015) (internal quotation omitted). A court
is required to "construe all evidence in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, drawing all inferences and
resolving all ambiguities in its favor." Dicker son
v. Napolitano, 604 F.3d 732, 740 (2d Cir. 2010). The
moving party bears the burden of proof that no genuine issues
of fact exist, but, once it satisfies this initial burden,
the burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to present
evidence that there is a genuine issue for trial.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. "Summary judgment is
appropriate where the record taken as a whole could not lead
a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving
party." Rosenfeld v. Hostos Cmty. Coll., 554
Fed.Appx. 72, 73 (2d Cir. 2014).
argues that, at the time of the actions underlying the
committee's award, it was not bound by any of the
Agreements. According to PAC, once the Association terminated
its membership on August 29, 2012, it ceased being a party to
any of the Agreements. See Respondent's Opp. at
5. Because it was not a party to the Agreements, PAC argues,
the arbitration award, which was based on PAC violating these
Agreements, should be vacated. The Union contends that
PAC's termination from the Association is insufficient to
abrogate its responsibilities pursuant to the Agreements.
Rather, the Agreements set forth specific procedures that
required PAC to provide 180 days' notice if it desired to
abrogate. Since PAC did not provide such notice until 2014,
it is the Union's position that PAC continued to be bound
by the Agreements.
threshold issue, it must be determined if PAC was bound to
arbitrate whether its termination from the Association also
terminated its obligations under the Agreements. The issue of
arbitrability arises when there is a question as to whether
"there is even a valid agreement to arbitrate in effect
at a particular time." Abram Landau Real Estate v.
Bevona,123 F.3d 69, 72-73 (2d Cir. 1997). ...