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Summit Sheet M LLC v. Metal

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

March 28, 2014

SUMMIT SHEET M LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
SHEET Metal Workers' INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION, LOCAL UNION NO. 44, Defendant. SHEET Metal Workers INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION, LOCAL UNION NO. 44, Plaintiff,
v.
SUMMIT SHEET M LLC, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM

RICHARD CAPUTO, District Judge.

Presently before the Court are cross-motions for summary judgment filed by Plaintiff Summit Sheet M LLC ("Summit") (Doc. 25) and Defendant Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local Union No. 44 ("Local 44") (Doc. 21). Because the parties' agreement required Summit to negotiate for a renewal agreement, and, if negotiations failed, to submit to interest arbitration, Summit's motion for summary judgment will be denied and Local 44's motion for summary judgment will be granted.

I. Factual Background and Procedural History

Local 44, a labor organization representing employees in an industry affecting commerce, and Summit, an employer in an industry affecting commerce, are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. ( Local 44's SMF, ¶¶ 1-3, 9.) Specifically, on August 2, 2011, Summit signed a "Form Letter of Assent" (the "Letter of Assent"), which provides, in relevant part:

This is to certify that the undersigned Empower [sic] has examined a copy of the current approved Labor Agreement between SMACNA of Northeastern Pennsylvania and Local #44 Sheet Metal Workers.
The Undersigned Employer hereby agrees to comply with all of the terms and conditions of employment contained in the above mentioned agreement and all approved amendments thereto.
It is understood that the signing of this Letter of Assent shall be binding on the undersigned Employer as though he had signed the above referred to Agreement, including any approved amendments thereto

( Compl., Ex. A., 30.) The Letter of Assent also states:

This letter of assent should become effective for the undersigned Employer on the 8th day of August 2011, and shall remain in effect until the 30th day of April 2013.
If the undersigned Employer does NOT intend to renew this assent, he shall so notify the Local Union in writing at least thirty (30) days prior to the termination date.

( Id. )

The Labor Agreement referred to in the Letter of Assent is entitled "Standard Form of Union Agreement Sheet M Roofing, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Contracting Divisions of the Construction Industry" (the "Standard Form Local 44 CBA"). ( Faust Aff., ¶ 2.) The Standard Form Local 44 CBA is a standard form of agreement used not only by Local 44 as its collective bargaining agreement with all employers within the jurisdiction of Local 44, but also by all other Locals of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association throughout the United States. ( Id. at ¶ 3.) Summit's owner, Shane Ruggere ("Ruggere"), signed the Standard Form Local 44 CBA, Addendum #2, the Letter of Assent, and the signature page of the addendums to the Standard Form Local 44 CBA. ( Compl., Ex. A.)

The specific agreement that Summit agreed to abide by was between Local 44 and the Sheet Metal Contractors Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Inc. (the "Association"). ( Faust Aff., ¶ 4.) The Association is an association of employers engaged in the sheet m roofing, ventilating and air conditioning industry within the jurisdiction of Local 44, who have agreed to provide their respective collective bargaining rights to the Association to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement on their behalf with Local 44. ( Id. at ¶ 5.)

The Standard Form Local 44 CBA was entered into on May 1, 2010. The term of the Standard Form Local 44 CBA is provided for in Article XV, Section 1:

This Agreement and Addenda Numbers one through three attached hereto shall become effective on the 1st day of May, 2010 and remain in full force and effect until the 30th day of April, 2013 and shall continue in force from year to year thereafter unless written notice of reopening is given not less than ninety (90) days prior to the expiration date. In the event such notice of reopening is served, this Agreement shall continue in force and effect until conferences relating thereto have been terminated by either party by written notice, provided, however, that if this Agreement contains Article X, Section 8, it shall continue in full force and effect until modified by order of the National Joint Adjustment Board or until the procedures under Article X, Section 8 have been otherwise completed.

( Compl., Ex. A, 11.) The Standard Form Local 44 CBA contains Article X, Section 8. That section provides for interest arbitration, and it states, in relevant part:

In addition to the settlement of grievances arising out of interpretation or enforcement of this Agreement as set forth in the preceding sections of this Article, any controversy or dispute arising out of the failure of the parties to negotiate a renewal of this Agreement shall be settled as hereinafter provided:
(a). Should the negotiations for a renewal of this Agreement or negotiations regarding a wage/fringe reopener become deadlocked in the opinion of the Union representative(s) or of the Employer('s) representative(s), or both, notice to that effect shall be given to the National Joint Adjustment Board.
....
The dispute shall be submitted to the National Joint Adjustment Board pursuant to the rules as established and modified from time to time by the National Joint Adjustment Board. The unanimous decision of said Board shall be final and binding upon the parties, reduced to writing, signed and ...

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