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SHEET METAL WKRS. v. BRIDGE

August 29, 1980

SHEET METAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION, LOCAL UNION NO. 91, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BRIDGE, STRUCTURAL & ORNAMENTAL IRONWORKERS, LOCAL UNION 111, AND J & J STEEL ERECTORS, INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert D. Morgan, Chief Judge.

DECISION AND ORDER

This complaint arose out of a jurisdictional dispute involving work performed by members of the defendant Bridge, Structural & Ornamental Ironworkers, Local 111, which the plaintiff, Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local 91, claimed to have been properly awardable to its members. The defendant J & J Steel Erectors, Inc. is a corporation headquartered in the State of Iowa and an employer engaged in an industry affecting interstate commerce.*fn1

The cause is now before the court on cross-motions for summary judgment. By those motions, all parties concede that there exists no genuine issue as to any material fact.

In 1979, J & J was engaged in the construction of phases II and III of a construction project in Rock Island, Illinois, which is designated as the centennial warehouse project. Within the purview of this complaint, its contractual undertaking involved the installation of Varco Pruden metal roof decking lighter than ten gauge, hereinafter the disputed work. Plaintiff claims entitlement to that work for its members.

J & J was a member of Master Builders of Iowa, headquartered at Des Moines, Iowa, and of Quad Cities Builders Association, headquartered at Rock Island, Illinois.*fn2 The dispute peripherally involves a collective bargaining agreement between QC, on behalf of its associated members, and Local 111. J & J had no collective bargaining agreement with plaintiff.

The dispute directly involves a written agreement entitled "Plan for the Settlement of Jurisdictional Disputes in the Construction Industry," which had been negotiated by the Building Trades Department, AFL-CIO, on behalf of all of its constituent unions. Both plaintiff and Local 111 were parties to that agreement, by reason of the fact of its adoption by AFL-CIO. Associated General Contractors of America, hereinafter AGC, was one of several construction industry associations which were signatories to the plan. At all relevant times, MBI was a chapter of AGC. QC was not affiliated with that association.

The plan is a negotiated agreement between AFL-CIO and the signatory employer associations, designed to provide a procedure for the settlement of jurisdictional disputes without strikes or work stoppages and without the necessity of resorting to proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board under Section 10(k) of the Labor Management Relations Act. 29 U.S.C. § 160(k). The plan is implemented by a Joint Administrative Committee composed of representatives of both labor and management. It created an Impartial Jurisdictional Disputes Board, hereinafter IJDB, and vested that Board with jurisdiction to consider and decide jurisdictional disputes arising out of work assignments.*fn3 Decisions by the IJDB are appealable to the Joint Committee within ten days after any such decision is rendered.

On February 26, 1979, after J & J had assigned the disputed work to members of Local 111, plaintiff advised its International Union that it claimed the disputed work. It requested the International Union to "please attempt to adjust" the dispute. On March 23, 1979, plaintiff advised J & J by letter that it claimed the right to the disputed work and that it had submitted that claim "through the regular channels." The claim was submitted to the IJDB. On April 6, 1979, the parties were notified by the IJDB of its decision that plaintiff was entitled to the disputed work. That decision was not appealed.

The phase II work was completed by members of Local 111 in June, 1979. Plaintiff filed its complaint herein on June 21, 1979, praying damages to compensate it and its members for that work which it alleged to have been wrongfully performed by Local 111.

The phase III disputed work was assigned the same way. On June 22, 1979, plaintiff notified J & J by letter that it claimed the work and that it would invoke the plan procedures before the IJDB. On July 20, 1979, that body notified the parties that it had determined that plaintiff was entitled to the disputed work. Again, no appeal was taken. The work was completed in August, 1979, after which plaintiff amended its complaint, adding a second count for damages on account of the disputed work under phase III of the project.

The complaint is grounded upon the provisions of Section 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act. 29 U.S.C. § 185(a). It rests upon plaintiff's position that J & J had a contractual obligation to comply with the decisions of the IJDB, which is enforcible under Section 301(a).

Section 10(k) of the Labor Management Relations Act empowers the NLRB to hear and determine jurisdictional disputes. That Section further provides that the NLRB shall abstain from exercising that power if it finds that the parties have adjusted the dispute or that they have agreed upon methods for the voluntary adjustment thereof. Section 301 also vests jurisdiction in the district courts to enforce 10(k) awards, i. e., awards by the NLRB or awards obtained through an agreed-upon method for voluntary adjustment. Thus, Section 301 provides a jurisdictional basis for enforcement of IJDB awards under the plan, e.g., Local 416, Sheet Metal Workers v. Helgesteel Corp., 507 F.2d 1053 (7th Cir. 1974); Drywall Tapers & Pointers, Local 1974 v. Plasterers' Union, 601 F.2d 675 (2d Cir. 1979), and the concomitant jurisdiction to determine whether an IJDB award is valid and enforcible against a party sought to be charged.

The critical issue before the court is stated by a partial paraphrase of language from plaintiff's brief. The IJDB "decisions * * * must be enforced if the parties were bound to the Plan. The only issues then are whether J & J was a party to the Plan," or if it was not a party to the plan, whether it "may raise the nonparty defense."

It must be concluded, from undisputed facts, that J & J was not a party to the plan. An employer is bound to the plan only when any one of three circumstances exists, namely: (1) that it had executed a written stipulation to be bound by the plan, or (2) that it is a member of an employer association which had authority to bind its members to the plan and which exercised that authority by a written stipulation to so bind its members, or (3) that it is a signatory to a ...


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