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Service Employees International Union Local 36 v. City Cleaning Co.

argued: September 17, 1992.



Before: Stapleton, Scirica and Nygaard, Circuit Judges.

Author: Nygaard


NYGAARD, Circuit Judge

City Cleaning Company appeals from a summary judgment in favor of Service Employees Union Local 36 in its action to enforce a grievance committee's award under § 301 of the National Labor Management Relations Act. We will affirm.


City Cleaning provides contract cleaning services to commercial properties throughout the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania metropolitan area. The Union represents employees in the commercial building maintenance industry. For several years, the Union has been a party to a collective bargaining agreement with the Building Maintenance Contractor's Association (the BMCA Agreement). The Building Maintenance Contractor's Association serves as a negotiating agent for several companies including the City Cleaning company.

The Union is also party to a collective bargaining agreement with another management organization - Building Operator's Labor Relations Inc. ("BOLR"). Article 34A of the BMCA Agreement permitted City Cleaning to provide services to facilities governed by the provisions of the BOLR Agreement. Specifically, this provision of the BMCA Agreement permitted BMCA companies to perform maintenance work on facilities governed by the BOLR Agreement, or facilities subject to the BOLR Agreement. Such work was expressly conditioned on the employer's adherence to the "terms and conditions of the then current BOLR contract."

City Cleaning began providing maintenance service to the Mellon Independence Center building in Philadelphia. The maintenance work at Mellon had been performed by the ARA Environmental Services Company. ARA was a party to yet another, different agreement with the Union. ARA had agreed to be bound by the terms and conditions of the BOLR Agreement for ARA employees working at Mellon, even though ARA was not an actual party to the BOLR contract. In union parlance, this contract was known as a "BOLR Me-too Agreement."

Soon after beginning work at Mellon, City Cleaning informed the Union that City Cleaning was willing to enter into a BMCA type contract for its workers at Mellon. The Union rejected this offer, arguing that since ARA had performed the work at Mellon under the BOLR Contract, the union would only represent employees under a BOLR-type agreement.

When the Union learned that City Cleaning had begun paying its employees at Mellon less than they had been paid under the ARA "BOLR Me-too" Agreement, it filed a grievance, contending that this was a violation of Article 34A of the BMCA Agreement. A month later, City Cleaning filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, charging the Union with violating Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which provides:

Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all of such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment as authorized in section 8(a)(3).

29 U.S.C. § 157 (1990).

Before the NLRB decided these charges, the grievance committee issued its Report and Decision. The committee unanimously ruled in favor of the Union and directed City Cleaning to pay BOLR scale to its employees at Mellon. City Cleaning did not challenge the grievance committee's award, but simply refused to comply with it. Soon afterward, the NLRB issued a complaint against the Union and a notice of hearing on City Cleaning's unfair labor practice charges. This dispute was eventually settled and approved by the NLRB.

The Union filed an action under Section 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act in federal district court seeking a "judgment as a matter of law, and judicial enforcement of the Grievance Committee's Decision and Award." Both the Union and City Cleaning filed motions for summary judgment. The ...

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