Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.


United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

September 1, 2004.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: STEWART DALZELL, District Judge


AND NOW, this 1st day of September, 2004, upon consideration of plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction (docket entry # 2), defendant's response thereto, defendant's motion to dismiss (docket entry # 4), and plaintiff's reply thereto, and the Court finding that:

(a) Plaintiff and defendant are parties to a collective bargaining agreement that incorporates by reference Letter of Understanding No. 23, which is entitled Production Subcontracting (the "production subcontracting letter"), see Compl. Ex. A, at 261-63;

  (b) In the production subcontracting letter, defendant "agree[d] that employees will not be laid off as a direct result of subcontracting . . . work," id. at 261 (emphasis added), but both parties also "agree[d] that . . . employees should not be laid off as a result of subcontracting," id. at 263 (emphasis added);

  (c) The collective bargaining agreement requires the parties to submit all grievances to arbitration if disputes cannot be resolved at any of four preliminary stages, see Compl. Ex. A, at 28-34, 42-46; (d) As part of a plan to shift work that employees currently perform to an outside contractor, defendant recently has laid off twenty-six employees and announced its intention to lay off an additional sixty-one employees in the near future, see Newborg Decl. ¶¶ 8, 11;

  (e) Immediately after the initial layoffs, plaintiff filed a grievance against defendant, alleging that it had violated the agreement not to lay off employees as a result of subcontracting,*fn1 see Compl. Exs. E, F;

  (f) Although defendant quickly agreed to waive the four preliminary steps of their dispute resolution procedure and allow this matter to proceed immediately to arbitration, see Compl. Ex. G, plaintiff filed this action along with the instant motion, which requests that we enjoin defendant from continuing to lay off employees until after the arbitrator has resolved the dispute;

  (g) We have no "jurisdiction to issue any restraining order or temporary or permanent injunction in a case involving or growing out of a labor dispute," see 29 U.S.C. § 101 (2004);

  (h) Notwithstanding this statute, the Supreme Court has recognized that federal courts may forbid unions from striking when they have agreed that their disputes would be resolved through arbitration rather than striking, see Boys Markets, Inc. v. Retail Clerk's Union, Local 770, 398 U.S. 235, 90 S. Ct. 1583 (1970);

  (i) Our Court of Appeals expanded the Boys Market exception so that "injunctions may . . . issue against acts taken or threatened by the employer" if (1) "the underlying dispute is subject to mandatory arbitration"; (2) "the employer, rather than seeking arbitration of his grievance, is interfering with and frustrating the arbitral process"; and (3) "an injunction would be appropriate under ordinary principles of equity," see United Steelworkers v. Fort Pitt Steel Casting, 598 F.2d 1273, 1278-79 (3d Cir. 1979) (quotations omitted);

  (j) Here, the parties do not dispute that their dispute is subject to mandatory arbitration, see Pl.'s Br. at 7-8; Def.'s Br. at 10 n. 3;

  (k) Although plaintiff suggests that proceeding with the anticipated layoffs would interfere with and frustrate the arbitral process, the layoffs would merely give rise to new grievances, which could themselves be arbitrated, and would not necessarily render arbitration a hollow formality because the arbitrator could order reinstatement and backpay, if she or he accepts plaintiff's interpretation of the production subcontracting letter;*fn2 (l) Plaintiff also argues that our Court of Appeals has held in analogous circumstances that employers have interfered with and frustrated the arbitral process,*fn3 but those cases involved situations where the employer sought to avoid arbitration entirely, see, e.g., Nursing Home & Hosp. Union No. 434 v. Sky Vue Terrace, Inc., 759 F.2d 1094, 1098 (3d Cir. 1985) (affirming injunction against employer from distributing all of its assets because complete distribution would render arbitration of the dispute a "hollow formality"); Fort Pitts Steel Casting, 598 F.2d at 1279, 1282-83 (holding that employer frustrated the arbitral process by threatening to cut off striking workers' hospitalization benefits rather than arbitrate the issue of whether the expired collective bargaining agreement required the union to reimburse it for the cost of those benefits);

  (m) In this case, defendant, far from attempting to evade arbitration, has actually expedited arbitration by waiving its right to insist that the grievance proceed through the four stages preliminary to arbitration, see Compl. Ex. G;

  (n) Because defendant has not interfered with and frustrated arbitration,*fn4 we shall deny plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction; (o) The only relief that the complaint requests is that we "maintain the status quo pending the completion of the grievance/arbitration proceeding," Compl. at 10, and we have held that plaintiff is not entitled to this relief; and

  (p) Thus, we shall also grant defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint;*fn5

  It is hereby ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction is DENIED;
2. Defendant's motion to dismiss is GRANTED;
3. The claims in the complaint are DISMISSED; and
4. The Clerk shall CLOSE this civil action statistically.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.