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SEIU LOCAL 252 v. 1500 GARAGE CORP.

October 31, 1988

SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 252
v.
1500 GARAGE CORPORATION



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BECHTLE

 LOUIS C. BECHTLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Presently before the court is the defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction or, alternatively, because the statute of limitations for this action has expired. For the reasons stated herein, after full consideration of the supporting legal briefs, reply briefs and affidavits, defendant's motion to dismiss will be granted.

 I. BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff Service Employees International Union, Local 252 (hereinafter "Union") has commenced this action under Section 301 of the Labor-Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. ยง 185 ("NLRA"), seeking to compel defendant 1500 Garage Corporation (hereinafter "Company") to submit to arbitration of a dispute arising out of a collective bargaining agreement originally entered into by the parties in January, 1981. The Company formerly operated a parking garage located at 1500 Locust Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where its non-supervisory employees were represented by the Union.

 On January 20, 1981, the Company and the Union entered into a two-year collective bargaining agreement effective from January 2, 1981 to January 1, 1983. On January 10, 1983, the Company agreed to extend this agreement "on the same terms and conditions" for an additional period of three years, effective January 2, 1983 through January 1, 1986, subject to only certain wage adjustments.

 The collective bargaining agreement contained two (2) provisions that have given rise to the present action. First, it contained a rollover provision wherein the agreement was to continue in effect from year to year after its termination "unless each party serves notice in writing, thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of the original term, or any subsequent term, of a desire to change, modify or terminate" the agreement. Second, it contained a "successors/assigns" clause which provided that the terms of the collective bargaining agreement were to be binding upon the parties' "successors in title and assigns."

 In October, 1985, both the Company and the Union exchanged notices of their respective desires to change, modify or terminate the collective bargaining agreement. The Company's notice informed the Union of the possibility that the Company might terminate operations and lease the garage to an outside operator unless it could achieve a substantial cost reduction. Shortly thereafter, the Company leased the garage facility to an independent outside operator, Edison Locust Corporation ("Edison"). The Union subsequently entered into a collective bargaining agreement with Edison.

 In the meantime, the Company's collective bargaining agreement with the Union was due to expire by its terms on January 1, 1986.

 In late 1986, and following the termination of the Company's collective bargaining agreement with the Union, the Company terminated its garage lease with Edison, and leased the garage to another outside operator, the Five Star Parking Corporation ("Five Star"). Once Five Star took over the lease, it refused to employ the former employees of Edison or otherwise honor the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

 A grievance and a demand for arbitration was filed by the Union charging that Edison breached its obligations under the "successors/assigns" clause of the contract by failing to have Five Star assume Edison's obligations under the collective bargaining agreement. The Union also notified the Company that it was its belief that the Company also breached the "successors/assigns" clause of the collective bargaining agreement when it leased the garage to Five Star.

 Subsequently, on January 21, 1987, the Union asserted that the Company violated the "successors" clause of the collective bargaining agreement in failing to require Five Star to adopt the collective bargaining agreement. The Union demanded immediate arbitration of this dispute under the arbitration provision of the agreement and submitted a list of four potential arbitrators to the Company.

 On February 16, 1987, the Company responded to the Union's request in the following manner:

 
We must decline your request for arbitration, since there is no outstanding agreement under which 1500 Garage Corporation has agreed to arbitrate any dispute with Local 252. The earlier agreement, between the parties, expired on January 1, 1986. As you are aware, under well-established law, unless a party is ...

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