to a collective bargaining agreement have 'unequivocally expressed a desire that the arbitrators shall determine their own jurisdiction,' that issue will be withdrawn from the courts. American Stores Co. v. Johnson, D.C.S.D.N.Y.1959, 171 F.Supp. 275, 277, collecting cases.
The labor agreement under present consideration does not expressly give to the arbitrator jurisdiction to determine what issues are arbitrable in the first instance. Basically, the present agreement calls for arbitration of 'any controversy' relating to the 'interpretation or enforcement' of the agreement. Article IX, §§ 1 and 2. A somewhat similar provision has been held not to confer upon the arbitrator the authority to determine his own jurisdiction, i.e., the question of arbitrability. Lodge No. 12, etc. v. Cameron Iron Works, 5 Cir., 1958, 257 F.2d 467, 470. See also American Stores Co. v. Johnston, supra (171 F.Supp. 276), wherein a clause calling for arbitration of 'any differences or misunderstandings' was held not to confer the issue of arbitrability upon the arbitrator.
The issue of arbitrability depends upon an interpretation of the agreement. Article IX, 'Settlement of Disputes', provides for a three-stage grievance procedure, the last of which is submission to a named arbitrator whose decision is to be 'final and binding' upon the parties. As pertinent here, Article IX provides:
'1. If any controversy arises as to the interpretation or enforcement of this Agreement, work shall proceed in a normal manner while the controversy is being disposed of.
'2. Should any controversy arise between the Employer and the Union, * * * as to the construction to be placed upon the scale of wages attached hereto, any clause of the Agreement, or alleged violation thereof, such differences or dispute shall be promptly settled in the following manner.' (Emphasis supplied.)
Article VI, entitled 'Complement of Employees', after designating the employee complement on specific types of machines, provides in § 11:
'In the event of the introduction of new processes or new machinery, the complement of men required and other conditions of work shall be tentatively determined by mutual agreement before operation, and after a trial period mutually agreed upon those matters shall be finally determined. In determining the complement of men and other working conditions, it is agreed that recognition shall be given to the practices already established in other union plants throughout the country where such processes or machinery are already in use and it is further agreed that the complement of men and other conditions of work shall be determined so as not to place the Employer in an unfavorable competitive position as compared to the other Union plants throughout the country. Differences of opinion, if any, shall be settled in accordance with the provisions of Article IX of this Agreement.' (Emphasis supplied.)
Both parties agree that the sheeting machine is a new machine. The Employer contends however, that Article VI, § 11 'could never have been intended to cover equipment performing operations not theretofore performed at the plant' and that 'the only reasonable conclusion is that the Arbitrator under this contract is limited to operations and equipment of the kind specifically stipulated in the Agreement.' Union contends however, that 'this machine would perform functions identical to functions presently being performed by members of defendant union on other machines.' This is the 'controversy' in the instant case.
Article VI is very broad in its coverage and appears to include within its sections every piece of machinery within the contemplation of the parties at the time of the execution of the contract. It seems clear that by § 11 the parties recognized the possibility of the 'introduction of new processes or new machinery' and consequently inserted a provision to cover this contingency.
Article IX is also very broad and provides for arbitration whenever 'any controversy' arises as to 'any clause of the Agreement, or alleged violations thereof.' The specific reference to arbitration of 'differences of opinion' by virtue of Article VI, § 11, lends support to the conclusion that the matter should be arbitrated in accordance with the agreement. Further, the agreement clearly indicates that the parties intended the grievance procedure of Article IX to have a paramount role in the settlement of disputes. Article VIII, the 'General Provisions' section of the agreement provides in § 15:
'Both parties agree that they will give prompt attention to disputes and will in good faith endeavor to settle differences by conciliation in the manner hereinafter set forth.'
Arbitration is to be encouraged in labor Disputes. Where the agreement expresses a 'broad arbitration policy' a dispute should be decided by the arbitrator. In Lodge No. 12, etc. v. Cameron Iron Works, 5 Cir., 1958, 257 F.2d 467, at page 471, the court stated:
'We consider the general rule to be that a dispute between labor and management is arbitrable where the dispute is specifically contracted to be arbitrable or generally where the contract expresses a broad arbitration policy, i.e., a general arbitration clause; but controversies are not arbitrable where the controversy in question is specifically excluded, where because of a listing of many arbitrable incidences the instant controversy is impliedly excluded, and where the controversy or grievance concerns violation of a 'no strike clause.'
'In the case at bar * * * the contract * * * has the general provision that 'any difference' arising 'between the Company and any employee at to the meaning, application or interpretation of the provisions' of the contract may constitute a grievance and, if not settled, may be arbitrated.' (Emphasis supplied.)
For the foregoing reasons, it is ordered that the defendants' motion for summary judgment be and the same is hereby granted.
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